It took a little longer than expected, but the beer at Muddy Creek Brewery will be flowing soon.
The Butte brewery opens for business on Friday featuring five beers on tap in a roomy upstairs tasting room next to the Post bar on Galena Street.
“We want it to be comfortable and fun,” said Chris Sherman, who owns the brewery with Gregg Wigen and Todd McAdams, with a family atmosphere.
The brewery has a “unique relationship” with the next-door Post, a full bar. It sells its kegs to the bar, which will serve them on tap. Typically, brewery owners and tavern owners aren’t exactly on the same page; several legislative reform efforts incorporating the two groups have fallen apart in recent years.
“There aren’t many places in Montana where you see a brewery and tavern working together,” Wigen said.
But since breweries are required to close at 8 p.m., owners for both businesses expect a natural flow of customers toward the Post, which is typically busier in the late evening.
“When we close is about when they get going,” McAdams said.
It also gives customers who want to exceed the 48-ounce serving limit at breweries a nearby place to continue drinking.
Sherman and Wigen grew up together in Conrad, Mont., and started other business ventures together. The duo moved to Butte to launch a tech company together in 2000, which they sold in 2006.
Wigen started brewing about 12 years ago after getting a beginners kit purchased at Costco.
“I brewed some really tremendously awful beer,” he said, “but I was hooked.”
Wigen’s craft progressed, and he and Sherman – the businessman manager for the brewery – began to talk about opening a brewery about four years ago. They recruited McAdams, another friend, for his expertise in chemical engineering and fermentation.
They secured space next to the Post, which appeared to have been previously used for industrial printing for the Butte Daily Post, from which the neighboring bar gets its name.
“It was in rough, rough shape,” McAdams said.
But the bones of the building were good, and it offered the space to combine brewing with a tasting room.
It took longer to bring the brewery from concept to reality than the owners realized –- they hit snags with ordering equipment and building codes.
But a soft opening on Monday went well, and the brewery has already garnered almost 2,000 Facebook likes.
“We’ve got a ravenous group of people that have never even tried our beer,” Wigen said. “It was very gratifying to find out that people do like the beer (at the soft opening).”
Pulling the tap room together was a team effort. Friends and family pitched in, particularly the owners’ wives. Cindy Sherman, Chris’ wife, will manage the tap room.
Available will be Muddy Creek, a stout available from a regular and nitro tap, Skinny Cow, an Imperial Pale Ale, No Paddle amber ale, Dirty Blonde, a blond ale, and Good Time wheat ale. The brewery will also offer to-go growlers and have a mug club.
The brewery hopes to expand in the future and continue to contribute to the revitalization of Uptown Butte.
“We’re right in the middle of all these restaurants and a ton of festivals happen around here,” Sherman said. “We don’t know what (future expansion) looks like yet, but we hope that it happens.”