Local breweries continue to blossom thanks to local farmers

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - Montana is known for many things, its big sky, its great sports, and of course agriculture.

When you add one more thing into that mix you have what some might call perfection, and that one more thing is a cold Montana brew.

After speaking with Montana farmers and brewers, the statement remains the same, "the local route is the best route".

While restaurants work to give people their favorite beer, farmers are doing their best to serve up good quality barley.

Local farmer Charlie Bumgarner is one of many malt growers around the area, and typically grows between 70,000-100,000 bushels a year.

“It has to stay very viable and so that barley has to stay in very good condition, or it won't produce for them what they need to have it do. So, we have to be very careful on how we handle that,” said Bumgarner.

After the malt is dropped off from Malteurop breweries like Black Eagle, Jeremiah Johnson, and Mighty Mo will spend days turning that barley into some of the best local drinks.

"It’s been awesome, you know you learn their process, you learn their struggles as well. Because we can take it for granted, we call and it comes on a truck. So it's nice to see the work that's put into that. The hard work that gets put into that, and not only that but the love that gets put into that," said Zach Peterson, production manager for Jeremiah Johnson.

MT Pints is a new pub that opened back in 2020 and has been working with local breweries for years when it came time to decide where they would get the best quality barley to make some of the best Montana beer it was a no brainer.

"Great Falls is great, the people are great, the businesses are great. So why not give them the support over some national brand that has so many other markets to choose from when we can just choose from our and we know it's good," said Travis Teipel, general manager for MT Pints.

When it's all said it done it's safe to say the farmers, brewers, and customers are all happy with the finished product.

"They’re proud of their products and we're proud of our products as well, and it's just good we can share the connection there," said Casey Kingsland, head brewer for Mighty Mo.

"Good fresh beer... that's always something different, and I’m not drinking watered-down beer," said customer Avi Smith.

"I like the rotating taps; I like fresh local beer that's not something from a semi 3,000 miles down the road," said customer Darcy Corbett.

So if you’re ever in the mood for a cold one swing on by a local spot and remember that your dollars aren’t just supporting the local breweries, but Montana’s family farmers as well.

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