[Montana] came in 3rd on 2012 for capita per brewery, with a total of 36 breweries operating in the state at that time. The history of Montana brewing is long, going all the way back to the Gilbert Brewery in 1863 (a full 26 years before statehood) which still stands today. Gilbert Brewery produced beer for 57 years, until the onset of Prohibition forced the company to switch to brewing sodas and non-alcoholic beverages. Like many of the other breweries of its time, this product transition did not bode well, and by the time prohibition was repealed, the brewery was no longer savable.
In fact none of the early breweries successfully made it out the other side of Prohibition, as can been seen in the chart here. Of all the currently operating breweries, Bayern Brewing is the oldest. Opened in Missoula in 1987, Bayern is “Proud to be the only German Brewery in the Rocky Mountains.”
Click on the image above for the Montana Beer Trail Map
Did you know that Big Sky Brewing is the most popular brewery in the state? Big Sky has been brewing hits, such as Moose Drool Brown Ale and Scape Goat Pale Ale, since 1995. To read more about Big Sky’s history, click here.
To learn more about Montana’s brewing community, check out Ryan Newhouse’s book, Montana Beer.