Friday Five: January 11, 2018

Check out these five stories from across Montana that highlight entrepreneurship, the high tech sector, and everything else that makes Montana a great place!

Great Northern Brewing Company, Whitefish

1. Montana Ranked 2nd in the Nation for Number of Craft Breweries

According to a recent study by C + R Research, Montana is ranked second nationwide when it comes to the number of breweries, with about 9.6 per capita. The research was done by using data from the Montana Brewers Association.

In a story from the Missoula Current, the executive director of the Montana Brewers Association said the state’s breweries have doubled from 2012 to 2018, to about 80 now. And Montana is the nation’s second-leading producer of malt.

“Not only does that mean that visitors come to our state, it also means that our industry can attract some of the best,” said Matt Leow, the Montana Brewers Association executive director in the online article. “We can attract great brewers from elsewhere because they want to live in Montana and join this great quality of life as well, and I think that also contributes to the quality of beer that we’re producing here.”

Click here to read the full story from the Missoula Current.

2. Missoula Business Turn Old Fence Posts, Pallets and Beetle-Killed Pine into Sustainable Wood Products

Thanks to the Sustainable Lumber Co. of Missoula, wood that might be deemed useless is getting a second chance at life.

The Garden City company, which was started by Ryan Palma, takes wood such as old fence posts, beetle-killed pine trees, and unused shipping pallets and mills them down into flooring or other reclaimed wood products. Last October, Palma received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Use and Promotion of Montana Wood during Gov. Steve Bullock’s Montana Forest Products Week. According to a story in the Missoulian, Palma’s products has been used to make a ukulele for former Vice President Al Gore and a guitar for singer and songwriter Jack Johnson.

“I’ve had this idea of Montana-grown products,” he said in the Missoulian article. “I think people in the lumber industry honestly are the biggest tree-huggers. We really are. We want our forests to be clean and not burned up, so it’s always kind of a big part of what I loved.”

Click here to learn more about this company started by a member of the University of Montana 1995 football championship squad.

3. New Mexican Restaurant Spices up the Uptown Lunch Scene

The tastes and smell of the Oaxacan region of Mexico are now a part of Butte, thanks to a new restaurant, 26 on Main.

26 on Main opened in November and is run by March French and Jake Norberg. French, who is the chef, said in a Montana Standard article that his maternal grandparents hailed from Mexico and one of his favorite memories are family dinners. The restaurant offers street tacos, burritos, and enchiladas among many other dishes.

“At the end of that five years (after taking a break from a corporate job), when I was ready to go back to work, I had to decide what it is that I felt like doing — and I was not interested in going back into corporate America,” said French in the article.

Click here to read more about Butte’s newest restaurant.

4. New Ownership at the Belton Chalet

The Belton Chalet is staying in the Still and Baxter family as their son, Andrew Still-Baxter, takes over as owner from his parents.

Andrew began working at the Belton Chalet when he was 16 years old, and now he is going to run the business and restaurant with his wife. His parents purchased the Belton in 1997 when the building was largely unused. The building, which was built 108 years ago, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“This has been a big part of my life for pretty much all of my life,” Andrew said in a story from the Flathead Beacon. “It’s always been such an important part of my life and our relationship.”

Click here to read the full story in the Flathead Beacon.

5. Helena Schools Recognized for Achievements in AP Coursework

The AP District Honor Roll is given to districts that increase access to AP courses and maintain or improve the rate that AP students earn scores of 3 or higher, and the Helena public high schools once again found itself on this list. The school district was one of 373 schools in the United States and Canada that received the AP District Honor Roll. It was one of two districts in Montana to receive this recognition.

“There are not a lot of national benchmarks in education, so it can be hard to understand how we are performing nationally and internationally,” said Tyler Ream, district superintendent in a Helena Independent Record story. “This designation provides important insight in that regard and should be a significant point of pride for our students, educators and community.”

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