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Bill to extend Montana tap-room hours dies in committee

Posted at 1:53 PM, Feb 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-08 14:22:33-05

HELENA – A bill allowing Montana microbrewery taprooms to extend their hours to 10 p.m. died a quick death.

Without discussion, the House Business and Labor Committee voted 16-to-3 to kill the measure Friday morning. The committee had a hearing on House Bill 185 earlier this week.

Montana craft brewers supported the bill, saying that allowing their taprooms to remain open for an additional two hours would help the booming industry keep growing.

But tavern and restaurant owners strongly opposed it.

They said brewers are asking to create unfair competition for retail sales of alcohol – because the brewers haven’t had to pay for expensive alcohol-beverage licenses.

The bill was sponsored by Representative Dave Fern (D-Whitefish).

-Mike Dennison reporting for MTN News