CUT BANK - More than five years ago, an old plumbing business in Cut Bank was sitting, waiting to be transformed into something new.
That space is what new owners Kim and Louie Stoltz call Cut Bank's "living room," the Cut Bank Creek Brewery.
Kim and Louie always wanted to give back to Cut Bank, and this is how they've done so.
A brewery that's going on six years now has provided a boost to Cut Bank and the community.
They call it Cut Bank's living room because of how it allows people to gather and interact.
"It has really created a community gathering place, and that's what we were really hoping to accomplish," Kim said. "People coming in to create relationships and have a place to be. We have a real passion for community. Within that, in small communities, we have to support each other in order for any of us to thrive."
One of the Stoltz's philosophies is to help small businesses, and that's why they get their product from local farmers and ranchers. Beef, chickpeas, honey — you name it.
Their new food truck, which has been open since last May, features lots of food that comes from close by.
"We're not only helping a local business do well, we're also providing a much more nutritious and healthy food," Kim said. "People can have grass-fed beef that's just raised a few miles away. We have all this thriving agriculture around us and we can put it to use in our own kitchens."
Along with helping local producers, they've given a boost to Cut Bank's economy they didn't think of.
Customers have told them that when looking at a new place to move, Cut Bank is on that list because of the brewery.
"It's been amazing to me how we've had doctors and dentists for instance," Louie explained. "We've talked to people that when they came here, and one of the reasons why they come here to interview is because there was a brewery and I just didn't realize how important breweries were to a lot of people. And the brewery has been really big in that."
The Stoltz's will be celebrating the brewery's sixth anniversary in June, and they're proud to see not only the growth of their business but the growth of their town as well.
"Well, it was a lot of work. We had a lot of volunteer help that we're friends that come in and it was quite a bit of work and we turned to plumbing shop that was wide open into a brewery," Louie said. "Like any other business, there's a lot of work, there's a lot of stuff behind the scenes. But all in all, with relationships and people coming to hang out, make friends, you know, that part of it has really worked out well for us."
The brewery and other businesses are partnering up for a pub crawl to encourage people to visit local businesses. The event will take place on Jan. 21 from 4 p.m. to 8 pm. The Cut Bank Creek Brewery is at 315 East Railroad.