"It starts with grain—starch wrapped in a protective husk. After it is milled, it exposes the yummy sugar inside to yeast..."

So states an opening line on Missoula, Montana's Montgomery Distillery home page, as they explain early steps in their whiskey-making process. And their success has earned the attention of and an investment by the Montana Department of Agriculture.

The Northern Ag News Service tells us that Governor Greg Gianforte and the Agriculture Development Council has announced recipients of Montana's $896,003 investment in "innovative, value-added agriculture projects through the Montana Department of Agriculture’s Growth Through Agriculture program." The governor's says the objective is to "help Montana producers keep pace with a transforming agricultural industry and capture more of the tremendous value they create.”  And apparently that includes a business that capture the Montana "spirits."


Of the 23 recipients of investment monies, there was only one distillery. Not only does that make Montgomery Distillery unique, they were also near the top for amount granted, receiving $50,000.00 from the GTA program.

They are a family business with Montana roots five generations deep. They boast that  "inspiration and ingredients for our spirits come from the Montana landscape, but our love of small-batch spirits has taken us far and wide." The impressive resume includes their Single Malt Whiskey being awarded a "Gold Outstanding" medal by the International Whiskies of the World competition.


Montgomery Distillery was not the only business in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valley areas that received financial recognition from the Montana Department of Agriculture:

Key to the Mountain – Missoula

Founded on "wholesome recipes made with actual food. Key to the Mountain believes in empowering our community through good food, sustainable farming and ethical business practices."

$32,039 grant for equipment expansion.

Nature’s Enhancement, Inc. – Stevensville

A acre nursery, headquartered in Stevensville, Montana, produces hundreds of thousands of quality plants each year.  Products range from  wildflowers and grasses to large colorful shrubs, rich evergreens, and instant shade producing trees.

$50,000 grant for transportation system improvement.

Aspen Grove Farm, LLC – Corvallis

A small family owned berry farm located in the Bitterroot Valley, specializing in honeyberry production, but also grows a wide variety of berries, including strawberries, raspberries,  gooseberries, and currants.

$50,000 grant for value added product expansion.

Clark Fork Organics, LLC – Missoula

Located on the west side of the Missoula valley, specializing in fresh produce for local restaurants, the Missoula Farmers' Market, the Good Food Store and the Western Montana Growers Co-op.

$50,000 grant for Clark Fork Organics farm store construction.

Beauty and the Beef - Helmville

Grass-fed beef, pasture-raised "under the big sky of Montana. We welcome you to the ranch, where we loving raise happy cows and sell delicious beef."

$50,000 grant for business expansion.


All GTA funding awards require businesses to invest at least $1 in matching funds for every $1 in grant or loan assistance received. The Montana Department of Agriculture administers the program with counsel from the Agriculture Development Council, a seven-member committee appointed by the governor.

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The Montana distillery scene is certainly taking off, and with the access to local ingredients, you can feel good about supporting these establishments all across the state. Here are 20 distilleries that are worth a visit.

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