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Undammed Distilling blends craft spirits with Yellowstone River conservation

Undammed Distilling
Posted at 6:28 PM, Nov 22, 2023

BILLINGS — Spirit lovers, rejoice: This holiday season, there are many gift options that support local businesses and keep your glass full.

Each bottle of gin, vodka, and whiskey from Undammed Distilling is made locally in Billings, with Montana-sourced grains and water from the Yellowstone River.

"Healthy small businesses make for a healthy community. I'm convinced of that," said Allen Hodges, owner/operator of Undammed Distilling. "Something like an Undammed Distilling Company or a Thirsty Street Brewing or one of the other distilleries in town like Asylum or Trailhead, we're all doing the same thing. We're locals who have said, we want to do something that's going to impact the community for the better."

A connoisseur of scotch and single malt whiskey, Hodges started Undammed Distilling as a passion project after a 40-year career as a minister.

"I get to work by myself with a giant chemistry set and then I get to make something that I like and it's done," Hodges said. "Unlike ministry, people are never done."

Hodges operates Undammed with a German still and a clear purpose: Create a quality product and protect where it comes from.

"Because as a single malt scotch drinker, the distillers in Scotland all make a big deal out of their water," Hodges said. "Billings' water supply is the Yellowstone River. So if we're going to make good spirits, we're going to have to start with good water."

The Yellowstone River is the longest free-flowing river in the Lower 48, and Hodges donates proceeds from every bottle towards conservation and partners with American Rivers & Greater Yellowstone Coalition and the Yellowstone River Research Center at Rocky Mountain College.

Along with water from the Yellowstone River, Hodges uses as many Montana-grown grains as possible in his product, so you could call his product farm to table. Or rather, river to glass.

"We get most of our grains from the Gallatin Valley, our water comes from Yellowstone, so it has that ripple effect—farmers are selling in a local market rather than on the commodity market. So it just works because everybody is in it together," Hodges said.

From Bear Skull Creek whiskey to Hole in the Rock gin, each spirit is named for a stream in the Yellowstone River watershed. Hodges sells bottles right out of the distillery and there are 31 stockists across the state, from Baker to Bigfork. An entire list, as well as more information about their products can be found on their website: