Dry Hills Distillery

Samplings from Dry Hills Distillery near Bozeman, are seen in this June 2016 file photo.

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HELENA — Distillers and a brewer testified at the Montana Capitol on Wednesday to support a bill that would make their businesses operate under the same tasting room laws.

Montana breweries can serve up to 48 ounces of beer per customer until 8 p.m., and it may be consumed on premise until 9 p.m. Distilleries can serve up to two ounces of liquor per customer until 8 p.m., but it has to be consumed by then too.

“Even if we serve that person at 7:45, we’re pretty much requiring them to pound that cocktail and pull it from them by 8, which is negating the experience completely of coming into a tasting room at the distillery,” said Mary Harris, co-owner of Bozeman Spirits Distillery.

House Bill 474 would allow distilleries to stay open that extra hour for consumption purposes.

Troy Moore, co-owner of White Dog Brewing Company, is neighbors with Harris. He says he’s seen a few customers, especially tourists, who’ve been confused as to why one room is open, and the other isn’t.

“It’d be nice just to unify the two, get them on the same page, and then all of that goes away,” he said.

There were no opponents to the bill at the House Business and Labor Committee.

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Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.

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