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Brewers, tavern owners at odds over bills

By Scott Zoltan, KECI Reporter, szoltan@keci.com
Published On: Mar 26 2013 05:36:42 PM MDT
Updated On: Mar 26 2013 06:55:08 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

On Tuesday, tavern owners and craft brewers testified about a pair of bills making their way through the Montana legislature. Representatives from both parties poured into a House Business and Labor Committee hearing to tell their side of the story.

Representative Roger Hagan (R-Great Falls) has introduced House Bill 616, which would place new requirements on brewers. Many retail breweries would have to buy a state license for $100,000.

Missoula’s Big Sky Brewing Company is supporting the bill, because the establishment is too big and makes too much beer within current regulations. Many other brewers have come out in opposition, however, saying that it would put a dent in growth for brewers.

Brewers are asking for a two-year study, with hopes that new rules could be formulated that both sides would agree on.

On Tuesday, the Montana House Business and Labor Committee didn’t choose to take any action with the bills.