The first time I met KettleHouse Cofounder Tim O’Leary, he took me on a tour of his new production brewery’s wastewater treatment facility. It’s not the sexiest introduction in the world; while other brewers might have shown off some fermentors or a rapid-fire canning line, O’Leary schooled me on biological oxygen demand and sediment loads. But he explained that this expensive endeavor is what’s making KettleHouse’s entire future possible.
“This whole scene and lifestyle is made possible by that wastewater plant because we couldn’t be here without it,” he says.
The scene he’s referring to is KettleHouse’s new 25,000-square-foot production brewery and campus in Bonner, Montana, on the scenic banks of the Blackfoot River. It’s about a 15-minute drive from the brewery’s other two Missoula taprooms, which have operated since 1995 and 2010. The new facility has upped KettleHouse’s capacity to 30,000 barrels from 20,000 barrels; allowed them to install a centrifuge, a new canning line, and a third taproom; and most visibly, given them space to build a 4,000-seat amphitheater. In its first season last summer, the theater hosted acts ranging from Slayer to Lyle Lovett to Tedeschi Trucks Band to Ween.