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The Montana Legislature is considering a rule that could allow local craft distilleries to expand their production while still operating tasting rooms.

Republican state Sen. Kenneth Bogner introduced the bill [PDF].

Currently, the threshold for a "microdistillery" in Montana is producing 25,000 gallons of liquor or less a year. SB 182 would raise that bar to 200,000.

The move is supported by distillery industry representatives. Washington, D.C.-based group R Street testified in support of the change, saying that raising the cap to 200,000 gallons would reduce regulations on small Montana distilleries:

"This modest change recognizes the production realities of the micro-distillery industry. It would help these businesses grow by removing unreasonably low production caps."

In other states, for example, production caps for craft distilleries are 75,000 in Florida, 150,000 in Washington, and 100,000 in California.

The House Business and Labor Committee heard the bill at 8:30 Thursday morning.

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