Artisan Spirit: Summer 2014

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the conversation and explained that his clients were interested in opening a distillery and that he thought they should meet. Larrabee approached Ryan and Jennifer with an offer to volunteer to help set up the still out of curiosity, but after meeting and talking, they offered him a job. Currently enrolled in a master distiller program in Edinburgh, Scotland, Larrabee is part of Montgomerys talented and diverse team of almost 20 people. Ryan’s parents are the sales managers; his mother retired from teaching 4th graders and his father was the USDA Farm Services Agency District Director for 31 years. Joining Ryan and Larrabee on the distilling team is Chris Conley, who was a vintner at a winery for nearly a decade. Ten different mixologists with a mountain of credentials work the bar in the tasting room, one of which, Kira Bassingthwaite, is in training to become a distiller as well.

Besides a love of spirits, most of the crew at Montgomery shares a love of motorcycles. Ryan tells that they had some extra space at the distillery, and “we needed a place to work on them and build them, so we just converted the back of the distillery into a motorcycle shop.” Ryan says the future looks bright for craft distilling in Montana, which he expects will continue to grow in size and popularity like the state’s brewing industry. “Currently, Montana has the second most breweries per capita in the country,” he said. “I expect the state to embrace craft distilling with the same zeal.”

Montgomery Distillery is located in Missoula, MT. For more info visit or call (406) 926-1725.