The Montana Brewers Association is hoping to pass a bill that would allow brewery taprooms to stay open two hours later. Executive Director Matt Leow says taprooms can only be open until 8pm and he believes that is too early to be closing the doors.

“The reason we are interested in expanding hours to 10pm is for an additional two hours, especially during the summer, it is kind of crazy that breweries have to close when the sun is still up,” Leow said. “By going to 10pm, those two additional hours will help Montana Breweries to better participate in our tourism economy, they will bring additional revenue in and put more fuel into the tank of this economic engine.”

The Montana Tavern Association expressed opposition to this bill, but Leow says this should not be viewed as a competition.

“They even said no to our bill last session and all it did was allow breweries to brew more beer,” Leow said. “Don’t we all want to see more jobs in Montana keep more of our dollars here? That is what this is really about. It is not just about competing with bars like our opponents make it out to be. This is about the bigger picture and encouraging growth in this industry.”

According to Leow, there are several representatives in the House Business and Labor Committee sitting on the fence or leaning toward voting no on HB 185. Leow asks that folks contact them at (406) 444-4800 to voice their support for this bill. You can also send a message to the committee by following these simple steps:

Use this online form to send a message

Under “Send Message to” select “Committees”

Then, in the drop down menu, choose “(H) Business and Labor”

For “Bill Type and Number” enter “HB 185”

Select “For”

Then write a brief message urging them to pass the bill out of committee

For more information on the bill and what it means for Montana, check out the HB 185 fact sheet.