Brewing a Bandit’s Life

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Bandit Brewing Company in Darby, Montana

From living on a sailboat in the Sea of Cortez to owning a brewery in Montana, JC and Hilary are no strangers when it comes to unexpected adventures.  This week, Ken talks one on one with the original Darby mountain bandit, JC McDowell, owner of Bandit Brewing Company in Darby, Montana, where he revels us with tales of sailboat adventures, becoming Mayor, and falling in love with a community. 

Video Notes to Highlighted Topics

0:55 From a Sailboat to a Brewery
JC talks about being a developer in Atlanta, and then 2008 came around.  They lost everything but the sailboat, and the rest is history.

5:09 Land, Ho!
As the kids grew up, JC and Hilary decided it was time to find land, ending up in Darby, MT

6:05 The Recipe for Brewing Beer
Finding a small building for sale, JC decided to buy it. Then in the chilly hours of a Montana winter, he starts brewing again, inviting people over for beer.  Turns out the new building is perfect for a much needed brewery in small town Montana.

8:41 Bootstrapping a Brewery
JC talks about building a brewery one step at a time and how he did a lot of his own labor. His past experience as a real estate developer helped a lot, too.

10:35 Montana’s Beer Laws
Montana has some interesting laws for breweries, but JC finds the positives in these laws.

11:38 The Mayor of Darby
Only being in Darby for a few years, JC ran for Mayor and won.  He looked at this as a way of contributing and helping out the community he now calls home.

14:35 Da Beer
JC and Ken discuss the joy in experimental brewing, the taproom, and distribution, allowing the guests to help define the flagship beers.

16:18 Change is Constant
Ken wonders about the huge for sale sign on the building.  JC explains why they are changing their name and how moving into a bigger space in the near future is better for everyone.

20:01 The Stout Life
JC enlightens us with his ways of accepting the unexpected.

22:03 Beyond the Taproom
From an ancient wood burning stove to top of the line brewing equipment to plans for a distillery, JC gives us an informative tour beyond the taproom.

We’d love to hear from you.

The new name for the brewery will be Brigand Brewing Company.  If you had the chance to change your name, what would it be?  Remember, Princess Consuela Banana Hammock has already been taken. Let us know in the comments below.

Changing from Bandit Brewing Company to Brigand Brewing Company - was of beer with new Brigand Label

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