Bonsai Brewing Project is looking to open in Whitefish, Montana, by winter 2013. To get that done, Graham Hart, a Whitefish native, has launched a Kickstarter project to raise $15,000 over the next month (to date over $2,600 has been raised). Hart has already invested four years and $30,000 into the project.
By definition, a nanobrewery uses less than a 4 BBL brewing system, which means Bonsai Brewing will be one of the smallest brewery in Montana (Desert Mountain and Himmelberger Brewing are at 4 BBLs or more. Outlaw Brewing in Belgrade is on a 3.5 BBL system.)
One of the fascinating elements of the Bonsai Brewing Project is how Hart's dream of opening a brewery got kicked into gear. Hart currently works as an assistant brewer for Tamarack Brewing Company in Lakeside, but in 2011 he applied for the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp, a contest where participants compete to be one of 10 people across the country to go to Chico, California, for a week to brew with Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Hart applied (via a video submission), and he won! That week they brewed an Imperial Red Ale named "Raiders of the Last Hops," since they raided the last of the hops on the farm for the beer. Two kegs of the beer made it to the Craggy Range bar in Whitefish and didn't even last 24 hours, according to Hart.
The Bonsai Brewing Project already has a space. It will be in the Whitefish Mountain Mall in space #45. Funding will be accepted until August 31 for the project. For more information, visit the Kickstarter page or the company's Facebook page.
Cheers and welcome to Montana!