HELENA, Mont. – Leaders at the Montana Department of Commerce and Department of Agriculture helped Montana Craft Malt Thursday kickoff its 10,000-ton malting facility in Butte. The facility will be home to the state’s only craft beer malt-house making product exclusively from Montana-grown barley.
“Montana’s craft beer industry is quickly growing and becoming known around the world as a destination for beer enthusiasts,” Commerce Director Pam Haxby-Cote said. “Montana Craft Malt will make it easier for Big Sky brewers to access Montana-grown barley and market their craft brews as truly Made in Montana.”
According to the Montana Brewers Association’s most recent data, Montana’s 71 licensed breweries directly employ more than 700 people. Montana’s craft beer industry’s economic impact is estimated to be more than $100 million each year. These brewers use 7 million pounds of malted grain each year, half of which is grown in Montana.
“With the addition of Montana Craft Malt, craft brewers will be more likely to use locally-grown grains which are among the best in the world,” said Agriculture Director Ben Thomas. “Not only is this a good thing for our brewing industry, but for the farmers and ranchers who fuel it.”
Montana has long been recognized for having the highest-quality grain on the continent, including the state’s malting barley. Montana Craft Malt will cater to craft brewers interested in specialty, small-batch malts for making unique beer.
The $15 million project is a Montana Limited Partnership led by agri-businessman and Butte native Ron Ueland.
“Our founders and my family are proud that we can network with quality growers, barley breeders, brewers, Montana State University, and the County of Butte Silver Bow along with the State of Montana, to bring this neat value-added project to benefit Montana,” Ueland said.