I won't pretend to be an expert in Montana liquor and gaming laws, but I can see that the current cost of obtaining a liquor license almost ANYWHERE in Montana has reached insane levels. Even available licenses in pretty small, un-touristy towns are highly priced. Why has this been an issue for so long around here?

It's really easy to check the list of available liquor licenses - a quick visit to the Montana Department of Revenue website will show you what's available, where, what kind, and how much the seller wants for it. You read that right. We're still swimming in the "private sale license" pool. Feels like Montana has been doing this forever.


$275,000 for a beer and wine license in the City of Stevensville? $175,000 for a City of Whitefish Restaurant Beer and Wine License with seating of 61 to 100? How about $450,000.00 for City of Missoula On-premises Beer & Wine License with Catering Endorsement that not eligible for gaming? $500,000 for a City of Butte/Silver Bow County All-beverages License with Catering Endorsement?

Photo by QUI NGUYEN on Unsplash
Photo by QUI NGUYEN on Unsplash
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Unless you're in the biz, you might be floored to learn how many different Alcoholic Beverage Licenses there are in the state of Montana. Most of these I did not see listed on the list of the available licenses for sale. The DoR website lists all of the following:

Alcoholic Beverage License Specialist
Alcoholic Beverage License Codes
Alcoholic Beverage Retail License Competitive Bidding Process
Making Changes to an Alcoholic Beverage License
Airport All-Beverage
Beer Connoisseur’s License
Brewery Storage Depot
Beer and Wine Wholesaler, Distributor, and Importer
Catering Endorsements
City All-Beverage
City Beer and Wine
County All-Beverage
County Beer and Wine
Golf Course Beer and Wine
Nonprofit Arts Organization Beer and Wine
Off-Premises Retail Sales
Passenger Carrier
Resort All-Beverage
Restaurant Beer and Wine
Special Permits
Veterans or Fraternal Club License

Photo by Steve Allison on Unsplash
Photo by Steve Allison on Unsplash

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