Despite Delays, New Billings Brewery Optimistic for Spring Launch
It's not often, but every once in a while, I experience what some may refer to as a "blonde moment." This occurred a few weeks ago as I was driving by the big, white, steel-clad building on Zoo Drive. I'd been watching the construction progress over the past year or so and when I finally noticed the signage on the new building I thought to myself, "huh, I didn't know Meadow Gold was moving."
Fast forward to a couple of days ago. I mentioned it to a co-worker and she was like, "No. It's not Meadow Gold (the dairy facility). It's is a new brewery called Meadowlark." I felt pretty dumb, then headed over to the new business to find out more.
Construction began about 18 months ago.
It was early morning when I stopped by the new brewery on Monday and nobody was on-site at the moment. I hit the internet and found that Meadowlark Brewing is out of Sidney, MT. They've been brewing award-winning beer in Eastern MT since 2014. I caught up with owner Travis Peterson today (1/14) who laughed when I asked when they're going to open. "That's the question I get asked every day", he said.
So, when are they going to open?
Peterson said they started looking for a location in Billings a few years ago as a way to expand their footprint in Montana and to help consolidate bottling and production operations. They purchase the lot at the south end of Shiloh Road (directly across from ZooMontana) about two years ago and began construction right about the time COVID started wreaking havoc on the supply chain. Travis said they've experienced numerous delays on various components necessary for brewing.
Most government offices also went remote during the beginning of the pandemic, adding to further delays with state and local inspections, permits, etc. When I pressed Peterson today about a ribbon-cutting date, he's optimistic for an early spring grand opening.
Meadowlark will offer beer, food, and spirits.
The 25,000 square foot facility will offer restaurant occupancy for up to 300 guests. Most of the company's brewing, bottling and distribution efforts will be based out of the new property and Peterson has plans to add a distillery to their operation. They hope to create the first 100% Montana single malt barley spirit.
Peterson said they like to provide a family-friendly brewery experience, with a kid's room and a large gathering space called Meadowlark Grange. Grange is a fraternal organization with agricultural roots.
The foundation of the organization is the Community Grange, which can be found in rural, suburban and urban communities. Faith, hope, charity, and fidelity are the basic lessons of the Community Grange.
The brewery hopes to begin hiring in the near future for numerous positions. We're looking forward to a tasty pint or two when they finally get to open their doors.