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Whitefish brewery looks to expand

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Nov 21 2013 06:40:49 PM MST
Updated On: Nov 21 2013 06:45:28 PM MST
KALISPELL, Mont. -

After winning awards at the Great American Beer Festival, The Great Northern Brewery in Whitefish is looking to capitalize on its recent victory by expanding operations.

“Who knows, 20 years from now we could be regionally distributed or throughout the country but we're going stick to those elements and stick to those priorities first," said general manager Marcus Duffey.

Duffey has a vision for The Great Northern Brewing Company.

Recently it won a silver medal at The Great American Beer Festival, the largest beer festival in the world. Now that they’ve won the award, the brewery plans on expanding its operations for the first time in 19 years.

The brewery's expansion project will help them increase production, as they've had a high demand for the beer over the past few years.  They'll be able to put out 6,500 barrels every year.  That's about 2,000 more than what they're currently at.

That extra 2,000 barrels works out to be nearly 150,000 more six-packs.

Duffey says they won't need to increase floor space for the expansion, as they'll be adding larger, taller tanks that will increase their daily production.

"The quality today is, as I said, our number one priority," said Duffey.

A number of other breweries have begun popping up in the Flathead, but that hasn't worried Duffey.

"For us, we stay focused on what we're doing,” Duffey said.  “With competition, we view it as more breweries bring more awareness to the industry and that's good for our industry and that's good for our beer."

Duffey says the expansion will allow them to experiment with new beers while still expanding the output of their current selection.