BrewFest Proves Craft Breweries Are Boosting MT Economy - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

BrewFest Proves Craft Breweries Are Boosting MT Economy

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MISSOULA -

The Treasure State's craft brew industry was celebrated Friday night at the Fourth Annual Winter BrewFest in Missoula. The Montana Brewer's Association said craft breweries represent one of the fastest growing manufacturing sectors in the state.

"Missoula really likes their beer, and they usually show up in great numbers to support them," said Al Pils with Kettlehouse Brewery.

And that they did, at the Winter BrewFest Friday night. One cup after the next, getting filled with more than 40 different craft beers, 31 from right here in Montana.

"The new landscape of Montana's economy is tourism, and tourist love craft beers, almost as much as our state's residents do," Pils said.

According to the Montana Brewer's Association, as of 2011, Montana was second in the nation in the number of breweries per capita, making craft brewing a booming industry for the state, especially for downtown Missoula.

"With the south side Kettlehouse and north side Kettlehouse right downtown, and Bayern outside, people definitely use those as jumping off points to come downtown for entertainment and dining," said Adam Reel with the Missoula Downtown Association.

Reel said we could expect to see the industry growing here, with two more breweries in the process of applying for permits to open up in downtown Missoula. Pils said with a thriving industry, it's a good time to open up business.

"We'll see what the carrying capacity of the state is. I'd say there's room for more," he said.

Missoula's Brewfests show Montanans are still thirsty, attracting more and more people each year.

"Montanans are proud of their state, and they love to promote the wonderful things we create in Montana, and one of them just happens to be craft beer," Pils said.

The Winter BrewFest turn out is expected to be upwards of 4,000 people.

 

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