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Blackfoot River Brewing Co. adapts to COVID-19 closures

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Posted at 6:12 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 20:12:28-04

HELENA — The bulk of Blackfoot River Brewing Company’ s business are bars and restaurants, many of which are now closed due to COVID-19 public health orders.

It’s been over a month since social distancing directives were put in place, and Blackfoot has adapted to the temporary new normal.

In order to adjust, they’ve moved their business model to growler pick up and delivery only.

“We’re still open and we’re still working hard, it’s just working hard in a different way,” said Tim Chisman, Managing Partner/Head Brewer.

Every growler is washed twice, manually scrubbed and chemically sanitized then rinsed before being filled up for a customer.

Blackfoot has also been brewing a high alcohol beer that Gulch Distillers is using to make hand sanitizer.

“Yesterday we brewed our second batch of beer that we’re sending to Gulch Distillers,” said Chisman. “It’s sort of like a malt liquor with no hops at all. It’s a 10 percent beer that they’ll distill into vodka basicly and then turn it into hand sanitizer.”

But even with all of that work, Blackfoot is only brewing a fraction of the beer they normally would.

On Tuesday they brewed a Montana IPA made with only Big Sky County ingredients. The IPA marks their sixth brew of the month. Blackfoot brewed at least six times a week before the COVID-19 pandemic.

”This is definitely more of a marathon and not a sprint,” said Chisman. “We’re staying busy right now, but once all the bars and restaurants open back up we’re going to have a lot of work to do to fill the pipeline with beer again.”

Chisman says the overwhelming majority of folks have been very understanding during the COVID-19 closure, and they want to thank everyone for their support.

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