Kettlehouse Manager Responds to City Council’s Decison to Limit Taproom Hours
At Monday night's (Feb. 4, 2013) Missoula City Council meeting, the council approved a beer and wine permit for Kettlehouse Brewing Co.'s Myrtle Street location. However, that approval came with some unique strings attached.
The council decided that Kettlehouse, a Missoula brewery with two locations in the city, must close its Myrtle Street location each night by 10 p.m. in order to be approved for a beer and wine permit.
"I see where they're coming from, but I believe it is unprecedented in this town that they would single out one licensee," said Kettlehouse manager Tim O'Leary.
The permit was requested with the intentions of growing the wholesale side of the business. O'Leary is able to get around the limits state laws place on the production of breweries by separating the taproom from the production area. The plan is to have the taproom function as a bar under a beer and wine license instead of as a microbrewery.
"They did vote to approve our use," O'Leary said. "I thank them for that. But, with what I think is an onerous restriction on the license holder, which is my mom. She might fire me as general manager for making my first bad business decision. I agreed to close at 10. Practically, we probably were going to close at 9:30, but to have a government entity tell you your hours... it's just another bag of bricks as I like to say, another burden to carry."
The limitation on store hours was supported by some city council members who argued that it was necessary because of the close proximity to a residential area.
O'Leary says the extra strings attached to the license were "unnecessary" because he would have likely closed up before 10 p.m. anyway. He says he likes the moderation that comes with an early closing, but questioned the need of the city council to single out Kettlehouse.
O'leary says that the Kettlehouse will press on and that a third location in Missoula is likely by next summer.