Connecting the campus to the community
Craft Beverage Production Going Strong in Montana
By Kevin Nemeth
Montana’s craft brewing industries are going strong and show no signs of slowing down. This includes beer, wine, spirits and cider. According to the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, from 2010 to 2015 Montana craft beer production increased by 87%, while sales increased by 111% and employment by 204%. This has had a very positive impact of Montana’s economy adding over 1000 additional full time jobs and $33 million in personal income.
Montana’s craft distilleries are experiencing rapid growth as well. The Montana Governor’s Office of Economic Development states that the number of distilleries expanded from 3 in 2010 to 16 by 2014. That’s a growth rate of 433%! Watch out Kentucky!
Montana’s Wine industry is stable with 10 wineries in operation throughout the state. This is especially impressive given Montana’s northern climate and less than ideal grape growing conditions. We’ll see what happens with climate change.
Lastly, not to be outdone, craft cider is taking off in Montana and throughout the northwest. There are now 7 cider mills in the state and all but one have sprung up in the last 2-3 years. Expect this number to increase as Montanans get a taste for this refreshing beverage.
With all of this growth, producers are looking for individuals with the knowledge that can help their businesses grow. MSUB’s Craft Brewing and Fermentation program provides the background in science, business and brewing to prepare individuals looking to work in these industries. It’s the only program in the State that can be completed in one year or less. If you are looking for a career change you might want to check out this program http://www.msubillings.edu/extendedcampus/craft_brew_certificate.htm . In the meantime, enjoy Montana’s bounty of fine craft beverages.