Thursday, March 7, 2013

Anti-Montana Brewery Bill To Be Introduced

A bill that would force most Montana breweries to close their doors is being introduced by the MTA and Roger Hagan (R-Great Falls). Below is an article from the Montana Brewers Association explaining the proposed bill along with a list of people to contact about voting no on this bill.

Montana Tavern Association Boasts Bringing Anti-Brewery Bill in Tavern Times

The anti-brewery bill that you've been hearing about is still coming, and a new article in The Tavern Times makes that very clear. LC1429 by Roger Hagan (R-Great Falls) intends to shackle the craft brewing industry. This bill will make a mockery of all the good the craft brewing industry has brought in the last 10 years. Large established breweries are somewhat protected from some aspects of the bill, but this legislation will stop or seriously hinder any new brewery entering the market, eliminate any start-ups, and let the MTA call the shots on what breweries can grow and when. Odd how these things happen when you have a sanctioned monopoly at play. The final language or a bill number are not yet available, but this is what we have learned thus far:

 Brewers' on premise sales would be severely limited based on their barrel production volume:

300 barrels a year - 100%
301-500 barrels a year - 60%
501-1,000 barrels a year - 50%
1,001 to 10,000 barrels a year - 40%
Over 10,000 barrels - buy a license

Brewers could purchase retail licenses (big $), and retailers license holders could purchase brewers licenses (small $).

 Brewers would have to completely close their doors to the public at 8pm sharp! Currently, customers must finish their beer by 9pm- a reasonable approach. With this new law there would be no growler sales after 8pm as the public would not be allowed on site after 8pm and before 10am. I'm sure our traveling public and visitors are going to love these regulations in the summer time.

Brewers cannot have any food, music (live or broadcast), or entertainment whatsoever. Popcorn is now illegal.

Brewers could request special permits to serve their beer at 10 events a year. Better choose em' carefully.

 We are watching the MTA very closely and will let everyone know when the details of the bill are finalized, who you can contact, and when. This Bill is likely to be heard in the House Business and Labor Committee. Many of the committee members have already indicated support for brewers and possess no interest in this type of bill coming forward (Republicans and many Democrats alike). Roger Hagan is obviously not one of those, and Rep. Rob Cook (R-Conrad) may still carry this bad legislation forward. We are told to expect a bill draft to be available for a hearing late next week (March 14th, 15th, or the following week). Please be prepared to come to Helena if you can, and certainly ready to contact committee members when the time is right!

The Montana Brewers Association thanks you for your support of local beer that is always

Brewed from the Ground Up

Here is a list of people to contact about voting no on this bill.


  1. Thanks for doing legwork in finding all those email addresses. Perhaps since you made it that easy to write them, people actually may.

  2. I have created a petition against HB 616...please sign and share. We really need to protect our Montana breweries. The link is


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