Montana businesses hoping to sell beer or liquor won’t have to rely on the luck of the draw any longer, but they will have to outbid their competitors. Montana Department of Revenue Spokeswoman Mary Anne Dunwell says the first Montana liquor license auction will go live on January 18th.

"As you probably are aware, we are in a state budget crises and the legislative session was called to identify potential revenues to help address the state budget crises," Dunwell said. Someone came up with, what I thought was a pretty good idea, to move from a lottery, which does not generate the state any money and actually costs the state money, and move to a competitive bid."

There are only two bidding options now, but more will come.

"The first round of licenses are for one in Bozeman, a Bozeman retail beer license and that comes with a minimum bid of $187,500 and a Belgrade all-beverages license with a minimum bid of $350,000."

There are no liquor licenses set for Missoula yet, but Dunwell says the opportunities are based on population and will likely change with the upcoming census.

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