406 Brewing Company has outgrown its home in Bozeman, and is moving west to much larger digs on East Main Street in Manhattan.
Owner and brewmaster Matt Muth has owned and operated 406 on East Oak Street in the larger city for more than eight years – well before the address was incorporated into the swanky re-development of the Cannery District in northeast Bozeman. As upscale and high profile as that location has become, Muth said his ability to grow the business has been stunted by the brewery’s 3,500-square-foot footprint.
Before making the momentous decision to move, Muth investigated various alternatives for making his current venue work, such as finding storage space for barrels off site. He soon realized, however, that the additional logistics involved in transporting apparatus between locations would be costly, both in terms of time and investment in necessary equipment, such as trucks and trailers.
The solution, he decided, lay in Manhattan, in the 7,000+-square-foot space once occupied by Big Sky Carvers at 308 E. Main.
“I just fell in love with the location and space, and saw the potential, just like I saw originally in Bozeman,” Muth said on Tuesday, only two weeks after taking possession of the Manhattan facility and beginning the process of transforming it into a full-scale brewing operation with a tasting room.
“We produce 500 barrels a year now,” he added. “Once the
layout is figured out, we can probably grow four- or five-fold.”
With a degree in anthropology and experience as a potter, Muth said his foray into brewing doesn’t represent as great a leap in vocation as people sometimes imagine. He has studied the history of brewed beverages in ancient cultures, and follows news of attempts by his international peers to create modern brews from yeast found in sediments at the bottoms of historic vessels. Such interests fuel his enthusiasm about 406’s new location.
“Manhattan has an amazing brewing history,” he said. “I’m excited to learn more about it, but also become part of that history.”
406 Brewing Company is best known for a few specialty mainstays, including Hop Punch IPA, Putin’s Revenge Imperial Stout, Big Blonde Ale, and Jamber Ale. However, Muth says the brewery produces more “one-off beers” than any of the other products, and the additional space will make it possible to “play around” with that artistic side of the business that he particularly enjoys.
In Manhattan, he also will have room to stack barrels, so 406 might be able to offer barrel-aged beer. The larger building also will enable Muth to purchase more tanks, a canning line, and the keg line.
“I’ll be able to expand the scope of business into other markets,” Muth said.
406 in Manhattan will feature a tasting room, similar to but larger than the current one in Bozeman, as well as a large patio in front of the building for summertime seating. And though he has no immediate plans to serve food, Muth has designated areas where a pizza oven or large smoker might be placed one day. Depending on the interest of the community, he also has considered developing a portion of the new building into a rental space for parties or meetings. He anticipates hosting special events, live music and game nights at the brewery.
For Muth, moving to Manhattan offers personal advantages, including proximity to his favorite fishing holes. He believes that the growth in the western part of the valley bodes well for a healthy customer base, though his initial outreach efforts will be concentrated in Manhattan.
“We’ll start in town and work our way out,” he said. “We’re just really looking forward to meeting everyone here.”
Muth expects to open the new location by the end of the year, but he already is inviting his customers to celebrate the big move. On Saturday, 406 Brewing in Bozeman will host a “Moving to Manhattan” party, featuring music by Dusty Pockets from 6-8 p.m. and pint specials all day.
“I’m gung ho,” Muth said of his plans for the next phase of his business. “I think it’s going to be amazing.”