Micro-Distillery to Open in Missoula

MISSOULA — KPAX, March 5, 2012 — A Missoula couple is one step closer to bringing its five-year distillery dream to life after Missoula City Council approved a conditional use permit for its future location.

Ryan Montgomery and his wife will, appropriately, call their endeavor Montgomery Distillery. “Not too original, but authentic,” Montgomery said.

The two plan to renovate the old Pipestone Mountaineering building at 129 West Front Street with a tasting room on the main floor and a brewing room on the bottom where they will stir spirits like vodka, gin and, eventually, whiskey.

“I grew up in agriculture and distilling has traditionally always been a byproduct of agriculture,” Montgomery said. He was born in Missoula, grew up in Lewistown and recently lived in Europe and worked in the finance profession in Africa.

“I also come from the consumer side of the business, just enjoying spirits and enjoying whiskey and cocktails and it seemed to make sense to do something like that in Montana,” Montgomery said.

So far, Missoula is more-than-stomaching the idea. No one spoke out at Monday’s public hearing on the conditional use permit, but Montgomery says he hears consistent support.

“Every indication we’ve gotten so far is a lot of encouragement from the community from people writing on our Facebook page or shooting us emails or seeing us working on the street giving us a little bit of encouragement,” Montgomery said. “I hope that we are able to meet that level of expectation. I look forward to trying.”

The Montgomery’s will now seek building permits before starting construction even as the founders keep working on recipes. But, they are already looking ahead to success.

“Start with a base in Missoula, and then move on to wider Montana and then the Northwest and then keep growing as we can,” Montgomery said. “But our real goal is to be a Missoula company, a Missoula business and base our spirits off of what’s around us.”

He hopes to open the Montgomery Distillery sometime in May, but it will likely take longer to try the whiskey since Montgomery is looking at a three-year target age.