April 5, 2017
Hey all. So you might have heard that the distillers of Montana brought a bill to the Legislature to allow you to sit and finish your drink in a distillery until 9, just like you currently get to do in a brewery. We had amazing support in the House with a 93-6 vote in favor, talk about both sides coming together on an issue!
Then we hit up against the Senate Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs committee, chaired by a bar owner, Senator Buttrey. We thought we had a compelling case, a good set of rationales (basically just have parity with the brewers), and that with a 93-6 vote we were in the wheelhouse of what people wanted. But Senator Buttrey didn’t like adding an hour for people to finish their drinks and tried a number of ways to get a different bill passed that would directly have only a positive impact on his own business and industry.
None of that worked out and yesterday we finally got a vote on our bill BUT an amendment was proposed and voted into our bill which we’re calling the Orphan Girl Killer. Literally, the amendment to our tasting room hours proposal now means that you would not be able to buy Orphan Girl from our tasting room in Butte. Talk about political third rail….don’t mess with Orphan Girl.
To be very clear, we have no issue with Senator Facey, the amendment’s original sponsor. He didn’t want the amendment to pass at all once he knew more about the issue, but Senator Buttrey and those he could convince to vote with him saw this as an opportunity to make the bill so toxic that we’d have to pull it.
So, we’re asking you to reach out to your Senator via this link – http://leg.mt.gov/css/Sessions/65th/roster.asp?HouseID=2&SessionID=111 and ask them to kill the amendment and to give us an Up or Down vote on the “language of the bill” to expand tasting room hours, leave Orphan Girl alone, and allow all Montana distilleries to continue bringing economic development to MT.