Rep. David Fern, D-Whitefish, recently proposed House Bill 185 which called for an extension of brewery operation hours, replacing the current 8 p.m. mandated closure with a 10 p.m. one. HB 185 applied to breweries that produce between 100 and 60,000 barrels of beer annually.
Fern argued an extension on brewery hours would increase revenues of local businesses and have a positive economic impact on the communities in which the respective breweries operate.
A Montana House panel ultimately rejected the bill on Feb. 8 in a 16-3 vote due to the fact breweries are considered manufacturers, not retailers. Brewery closure time will remain at 8 p.m.