Kalispell Brewing Company
Before the summer of 2014, when husband-and-wife team Cole Schneider and Maggie Doherty opened the doors to the Kalispell Brewing Company, the city was the largest in the state without a brewery.
“And we think that every town deserves a brewery,” said Cole, who had been a homebrewer for over a decade before deciding to go big with his passion.
Maggie, who first worked in a brewery in Michigan as a 16-year-old, and Cole met while skiing in 2010. They married two years later and purchased the beautiful old storefront on Fourth and Main as a wedding present.
“The downtown history was a draw, the character was a draw,” Cole said. “We could have gone into a strip mall, but we like the character this building has. You can’t make buildings like this anymore. The real big draw was being downtown.”
Since 2014, the award-winning brewing company has flourished into a downtown staple. The city of Kalispell hadn’t had a brewery in 60 years, and citizens were thirsty for a place to gather and enjoy each other’s company.
“We’re the county seat and there are a lot of people with families working people, not like a resort town—you get a more representative cross section of people,” Cole said. “We get ranchers and farmers and everyone in between. That makes us smile that we don’t serve to just one type of person.”
Cole brewed his first batch in 2002—reportedly, it was terrible. But the second batch was “mind-blowingly awesome.” And he’s only progressed from there. Today, his favorite brew is a dark dunkel, which is made with a triple decoction of mash, which creates a balance of malt and melanoidins.
As beer master, though, Cole makes something different to fit every taste. In addition to rotating seasonal beers, he offers five flagship brews, including Two Ski Brewski Pilsner, the Rope Tow Pale Ale, and the Snowslip Stout.
The business has grown fast, thanks to both Maggie’s public relations savvy and Cole’s quality beer. They’ve expanded their staff to around 10 employees, and doubled their brewing capacity. Despite their growth, the husband-wife team hopes to keep the company small and focused on the community.
“Bigger doesn’t mean better. Sometimes small is good,” their website reads. “Kalispell Brewing Company is proud to produce handcrafted lagers and ales using quality ingredients, with an eye for detail in each and every step of the brewing process.”
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