By MEGAN HIGGINS/Montana State News
Madison River Brewing Company out of Belgrade Montana has been dealing with an ever-growing demand for their products since they opened their doors in 2005. The demand for Montana-made beers has increased steadily in recent years, forcing small breweries to decide how best to deal with this demand.
The Belgrade brewery has grown to become the top selling craft beer for Cardinal Distributing out of Bozeman, which also carries Sam Adams, Red Lodge and Big Sky brewing, according to Howard Moore, MRBC representatives. In 2011, they produced nearly 6,000 barrels, a 10 percent increase over 2010 sales.
With this steep rise in demand, the brewery has done their best to stay ahead. According to Moore, in the last year MRBC has purchased a new 80-barrel fermenter and keg washer to help increase efficiency and expand capacity.
Many out-of-state businesses have requested MRBC products, but until recently, many have been told they will have to wait until the demand in the local market can be met.
“MRBC will continue to do our best to continue to feed our local Montana market before expanding in to other markets in the years to come,” Moore said.
That said, MRBC has expanded distribution into parts of Idaho, all of Wyoming and the eastern part of North Dakota. When asked if they will continue to expand Moore said: “Yes, we will continue to grow and do it in a thoughtful manner.”
Edited by Haley Anderson.