Battle Over The Brewery Bill
Breweries and bars are in a heated battle over liqueur laws. Breweries are trying to pass Senate Bill 202 that would allow them to stay open two extra hours until 10pm. As one might guess, this is making the bars a bit edgy. Some bars have even gone so far as to pull the breweries’ ales out of their saloons. Are the bars asking for too much claim in the market by not allowing the breweries the extra two hours?
DANIEL PERSON – Bozeman Daily Chronicle
HELENA — Emotions frothed over at times as lawmakers pondered whether to let taprooms to stay open till 10 p.m. as beer makers and bar owners went head to head on the proposal.
Continuing a debate that’s been playing out in the press for several months, supporters of the bill said it would bolster the burgeoning microbrew industry in Montana.
“The questions we always ask in this state are, ‘How do we grow the manufacturing base? How do we grow the agricultural base? How do we grow the tourism base?’ This is a perfect opportunity to hit the trifecta,” said Paul Marshall, a partner in a microbrew startup in Missoula.
But bar and restaurant owners, including several from Bozeman and Belgrade, said taprooms in Montana have turned into de facto bars and that the bill would allow the breweries to expand their retail business without buying liquor or cabaret licenses.