Envy Montana? Why not?

Well that’s cool.  Our neighbors to the north – that’d be Alberta, Canada – are apparently eying our beer culture.  Montana’s, that is.

In a Calgary Herald article posted last week, author Jason van Rassel had this to say about Montana’s beer scene:

Think about Montana the next time you hear someone trot out the tired — and inaccurate — stereotype that American beer resembles flavourless equine urine. American craft brewers are making some of the most innovative and tasty beers around, and some of Montana’s breweries are the vanguard of the movement.

All true. And I’m totally stealing the “flavourless equine urine” line.

Jason also points out Montana’s lofty 3rd place ranking for ratio of breweries per capita based on 36 craft breweries for a population of just under 1 million. Actually, those statistics are a bit off.  Montana finally cracked the 1 million population mark in 2012.  There are also 38 breweries open now.

Check out the list in the sidebar on the right.  There are forty breweries listed, two of which are not quite open yet (Kalispell and Butte).  (I could add a third brewery under construction, Canyon Creek in Billings, but my list won’t let me add items without links and I don’t have a link for Canyon Creek yet).  I know of three more in the planning stages just around the Missoula area.

Montana’s beer culture isn’t just the envy of Alberta. It’s the envy of other states, too. 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like Alberta is going to catch up anytime soon.  Alberta is holding fast to a minimum 250,000 liter production requirement for new breweries.  Thus, right out of the box a new brewery must produce 66,043 gallons of beer, or 2,130 bbls. That’s a sizable barrier to starting a new brewery.

So go ahead and envy us.  There’s a lot to like. And fortunately we like to share our beer. 

To read the full article, head here.  For pictures of Montana beer for no other reason than everyone likes pictures, here they are.