Last July, Montana lost one its most popular craft breweries, Flathead Lake Brewing in Wood’s Bay, a tiny berg five miles south of Bigfork along Highway 35 on the shores of its namesake lake.
As often happens in small businesses, there was a disagreement between owners, which resulted in co-owner and manager Terry Leonard leaving the company, head brewer Tim Jacoby taking another job, and eventually, the brewery closing.
Now Greg Johnston, who co-owned the brewery for five years with Leonard, has become the sole owner and he re-hired Jacoby to make the beer. Plus, Jacoby noted, “we have an entirely new crew here that has been working tirelessly since July.”
The Grand Opening will be sometime in March. Watch the website for the exact date.
When I talked to Jacoby earlier today, he and Johnston were working madly refurbishing the entire interior, including adding a kitchen to provide pub fare. “We want to provide a little food for people to enjoy with their beer.”
“It’s still mainly a taproom,” he said, “But we are going to also be a real restaurant, a Montana Style restaurant serving pizza, Montana beef and/or buffalo sandwiches, a fantastic Captain’s Chicken wrap, beer brats, maybe some salads, kid friendly items, etc.”
And a new spiffy one at that. “Everything will have a fresh look to it,” he said, except the exterior, which will be mostly the same and remain easy to find. Hard to miss, actually, when you drive down the east side of Flathead Lake.
Since the Flathead Lake Brewing has the same head brewer, the award-winning beer won’t change much either. “Most of the beers will be the same,” Jacoby said, at least at first, but he also said he’d be trying some new recipes.
“We’re keeping our logo and the Flathead Lake theme, but a little more recreation and a little less nautical.”
Besides taproom sales, Flathead Lake will go back to distributing draught beer throughout the Flathead Valley, but stay close to home for a while before trying to penetrate other markets. Jacoby also said they were thinking about doing some bottling in the future, but no decision yet.