KettleHouse Brewing Co. announced today it will permanently close its Northside Taproom beginning May 3. The closure is in response to the Covid-19 global pandemic, according to a press release issued by the company.
KettleHouse began operations in its Myrtle Street brewery in 1995 and expanded to the Northside location in 2009. The former fruit and vegetable warehouse adjacent to Missoula’s railroad tracks charmed craft beer fans with its historic brick structure and rustic appeal, prominently visible to drivers traveling underneath in the Orange Street underpass.
The Northside facility served as the brewery’s canning operation from 2009 to 2016 before opening its larger production facility in Bonner in 2017. The large, open taproom frequently served as a location for the brewery’s community pint nights, raising funds for local non-profits. Recent offerings at the Northside Taproom included everything from the iconic Cold Smoke® Scotch Ale to a variety of sours and barrel-aged beers.
Six part-time and three full-time retail positions are being eliminated in the closure. KettleHouse says it is providing enhanced severance, resources for support, and ongoing communication for affected employees.
KettleHouse will continue to use the Northside facility for brewing specialty beers and managing its barrel-aging program along with the office and storage areas for the time being, according to Tiffany Lutke in response to emailed inquiries.
The Myrtle Street Taphouse and Bonner Taproom will continue to operate. Curbside pickup and delivery is currently available from the Myrtle Street location. Kettlehouse expects to reopen both taprooms for on-premise consumption soon in accordance with State and Missoula County rules and guidelines.
Surveys conducted by the national Brewers Association at the beginning of April showed sharp drops in “craft category sales, massive furloughs or layoffs, and the high likelihood of large numbers of brewery closings without a swift end to social distance measures,” something that is increasingly looking unlikely. Beginning Monday, May 4, restaurants and bars are allowed to open in Montana, subject to strict physical distancing requirements and significantly reduced capacities.