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Happiest Hour: The Montana Distillery

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Where you are: At Missoula’s newest home for homemade spirits.

What you’re drinking: While there are plans to produce whiskey and gin, the distillery only offers vodka for now. Made from sugar beets, the vodka comes both straight and infused with various flavors, including bacon, huckleberry and pepper. You can buy pints or fifths to go, or you can order a shot or mixed drink in the taproom. Among the highlights of the still-developing cocktail list is the cucumber Moscow mule. Like the distillery in general, it’s a drink that’s rooted in tradition (a copper mug, ginger beer) but improves on convention, in this case with the use of a crisp and distinct cucumber vodka.
CATHRINE L. WALTERS
  • CATHRINE L. WALTERS

Ambience:
The distillery spreads out over three storefronts. One is devoted to production and packaging. A second includes space for an office and merchandise. The third is a taproom, which features both a bar and a dimly lit lounge area with a plush furniture. Overall, it’s a spare but comfortable atmosphere, a good place to take a date or a book, depending on your mood.

Where it came from: The taproom has only been open since Dec. 13, but the Montana Distillery has a long and tangled history. When Mark Hlebichuk and Sharie McDonald bought the operation in 2012, it was based in Rexford and was called Flathead Distillers. You might recognize the logo of a cowboy tipping his hat (and missing the top of his head), which the new owners continue to incorporate in their packaging. Much else, however, about the product has changed, from the shape of the bottles to the ingredients used.

When it’s open: Like other craft breweries and distilleries, the Montana Distillery has restricted hours. It’s open from noon to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

How to find it: The Montana Distillery is located at 631 Woody St. While the owners have been too busy to put up signage yet, look for the silver stills in the window of what once was Go Fetch! and you’ll be there.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com.

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