Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Higherground Founder Writes Book on Starting a Brewery

How to Start a Small-Scale Microbrewery
Higherground Brewing co-founder, Jasper Miller, displays yet another talent, this time as entrepreneurial writer of his new ebook, How to Start a Small-Scale Microbrewery: A Primer, released this March on Amazon.

"This book will show someone how to open a brewery for less than $200k," says Miller, who opened Higherground Brewing with his partner, Fenn Nelson, in 2011 for just under that.

"But this isn't a Higherground story," explains Miller. "I read through some of the other 'How to Start a Brewery' books out there and most of them are just stories about opening their own brewery. I mention Higherground maybe a couple of times total. I want this book to be a real guide, from how to fill out permits to getting equipment, and factoring in building costs."

Miller also wanted the book to be affordable, citing that some of the other well-known books on the subject (and there aren't many to begin with) are in the $40-50 range.

Miller himself was a homebrewer-turned-pro, and at the time of opening Higherground was the youngest brewery owner in the state.
Jasper Miller and Fenn Nelson
Jasper Miller, left, with business partner, Fenn Nelson.

"To make this book as useful as possible, I even included forms people can take to the breweries they visit that covers what to look for, from the tasting room to the fermenters. I show people how they can get a commercial brewing set up for $30-40k," says Miller.

The book was a winter project for Miller, completing it over the last eight months.

How to Start a Small-Scale Microbrewery: A Primer is available for Kindle at Amazon.com for $7.99 (published March 6, 2014). Please check it out and leave a review. 

Book Description, via Amazon:

This book is written for the following:

1. Those interested in starting a small 1 (Nano) to 10 bbl. microbrewery
2. Those who have somewhat limited resources and experience
3. Those who are willing to work hard, are handy, and dream big
4. Those who are just curious about the whole deal

This microbrewery primer will take you through the process from “Okay, I'm ready to go for it” through the business plan and paperwork requirements to setting up a brewhouse and finally to an operational microbrewery. Links and resources will be given throughout this primer so that you may expand this information into a more comprehensive understanding and approach to accomplish your goal. This book is organized in sections, not necessarily sequential steps. For example, you may be working on the business plan but will need information from Section III, Equipment and the Brewhouse. And so it follows that you will be working on more than one section concurrently. If you have partners, it is also a good idea to assign each person to spearhead specific sections, with input from all, of course.

Before you begin I suggest you do what my now business partner and I did our senior year of college: Relax, drink a good microbrew and dream about being owners of a microbrewery. Then read this book- all the way through without taking notes- to see what you're getting into. Then drink another brew. (By the way it helps a lot to have a partner or two on the journey to start your microbrewery.) Now proceed to Section I, knowing there will be answers to all of your questions. Cheers! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Philipsburg Brewing Co. Bottles Its First Beer

Badfinger Imperial Stout - Philipsburg Brewing

Philipsburg Brewing Co. has run its first bottles through its new bottling line. Making a limited 500-bottle run of Badfinger Imperial Stout. Each bottle sells for $20 and they are expected to sell out fast.

"These should age well, perhaps as long as five years if kept cool and dark," says head brewer, Mike Elliot.

Congrats, Philipsburg Brewing Co.!

*Photo courtesy Mike Elliott, Philipsburg Brewing Co.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Montana Beer Finder Launches Online Store

 For all the hoards of Montana Beer Finder fans out there patiently waiting for more great branded items (that will complement your MBF pint glass), we just launched an online store via SpreadShirt. A portion of all sales goes to keeping this blog alive and well. SpreadShirt is a low-waste, made-to-order online sales site with high quality shirts, hoodies, accessories, and more!

All items have been custom designed by Montana Beer Finder and are exclusive to our beer blog. Keep checking back, as we will be adding new designs and products frequently. If there's something particular you would like, send us a request and we'll try to get it for you! 

You can find the link to the store in this post, on the sidebar, under "Store" above and on our Facebook page

Cheers, style, and good beers! 

Whitefish Mountain Resort Winter Brewfest

Annual Fundraiser for the S.N.O.W. Bus. Come drink beer in the Upper Village and then head over to the Dummy Derby for a full afternoon of entertainment.


WHO:21+ beer drinkers
WHAT:Beer sampling
WHERE:Upper Village

Participant Information

Beer, Live Music, Beer, Food, Beer, Snow, Beer, Happiness
This annual fundraising event for the S.N.O.W.Bus is presented by the Big Mountain Commercial Association, and features over 12 regional microbreweries. At the end of Brewfest is the Dummy Derby, which is a delightful mix of beer and destruction as themed rafts go over a huge jump and blow up for your pleasure.
Beers On Tap
Last year’s Microbreweries at Brewfest included - Bayern, Big Sky, Bitterroot, Blackfoot, Blacksmith, Deschutes, Flathead Lake, Great Northern, Higher Ground, New Belgium, and Tamarack.
Additional S.N.O.W. Bus Runs For Brewfest
THE S.N.O.W. BUS SHUTTLE WILL RUN DURING THE EVENT at 12:30PM running approximately every hour on the half hour from the Mountain Mall with returns from the village at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6pm.
Full SNOW Bus schedule Here
Upper Village area, between Ed and Mully’s and Hellroaring Saloon.
1-5pm - Brewfest
4:30pm – Dummy Derby! (just uphill from Brewfest!)
Must present ID
$20 in advance
$25 at the door
$5 for under 21 & designated drivers (water & softdrinks)
Advance Tickets Available At:
Base Lodge Guest & Info Center: 406-862-2900
Great Northern Brewery – 100 Central Avenue Whitefish
BMCA – Call 253.9192


Contact Email:events@skiwhitefish.com

Event Phone Number: 862.2910

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Big Beer Fest at The Rhino in Missoula

Big Beer Fest - The Rhino - Missoula
This Saturday March 15, The Rhino in Missoula, Montana, will host its first Big Beer Fest immediately following the St. Patrick's Day Parade downtown. Special for the event, The Rhino will close down Ryman Street in front of the bar and serve up some BIG BEERS, meaning that they will all be over 7% ABV (actually, half of them are over 10% ABV!).

"This is the time to do it," says Kevin Head, owner of The Rhino. "It's not too warm yet and it will be fun to have something right after the parade. If someone needs something on the lighter side, all they need do is come inside where we have our full lineup of beers and drinks." Yes, The Rhino is well known for its 50 beer taps!

It is free to attend the Big Beer Fest, but if you want to try something you must be at least 21 years of age, and 7 oz. pours will run $3. We did the math and it's the same price as other brewfests (instead of $12 for a glass and two tokens + three additional tokens, $15 will get you five pours at The Rhino's event). The event runs 1 - 6 p.m.

The Rhino was gracious enough to provide Montana Beer Finder with the full beer list:

  • Bayern - Bad Santa Eisebock 2014 - 12% ABV
  • Big Sky Brewing - Hound Dog Barrel Aged Powder Hound - 8.3% ABV
  • Big Sky Brewing - Ivan the Terrible Barrel Aged Imperial Stout 2013 - 13.8%
  • Big Sky Brewing - Power Wagon Wheat Wine - 11% ABV
  • Brasserie de Silly - Scotch Silly Scotch Ale 2013 - 8% ABV
  • Deschutes - Black Butte XXV Anniversary Porter - 11.3% ABV
  • Deschutes - Class of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter - 9.1% ABV
  • Elysian - Dragonstooth Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout - 9% ABV
  • Green Flash - Imperial IPA - 9.4%
  • Kettle House - Brick and Mortar Imperial Porter - 10% ABV
  • Samuel Adams - Dark Depths Baltic IPA - 7.6% ABV
  • Samuel Adams - Griffins Bow Oaked Blonde Barleywine - 10% ABV
  • Samuel Adams - New World Tripel - 10% ABV
  • Samuel Adams - Third Voyage Double IPA - 8% ABV
  • Sierra Nevada - Bigfoot Barleywine - 9.6% ABV
  • Sierra Nevada - Narwhal Imperial Stout - 10.2% ABV
  • Sierra Nevada - Ovila Abbey Quad - 10.2% ABV
  • Sierra Nevada - Ovila Belgian Style Abbey Quad - 10.7% ABV
  • Troubadour Magma - Galaxy Belgian IPA 2013 - 9% ABV
  • Widmer - Kill Devil Brown Ale 2013 - 9.5% ABV
Rumor has it that a Deschutes Abyss and Tamarack's Old Stache Barrel Aged Porter are waiting in the wings if they are needed. 

Cheers to Big Beers!
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