Friday, December 27, 2013

What have we done? Caution - Construction Zone!

The picture up top is the inside of Katabatic Brewing Company's Park St. location. This is what it looked like a couple months ago when we first looked at the place. It used to house a couple different Chinese restaurants and even longer ago the Long Branch Saloon.

The photo on the lower right was just a couple of weeks ago when our architect came to discuss some options with us, the owners and the contractors. The brick wall you see on the left was covered in plaster and will be renovated back to glorious brick. In the front where the black plastic sheet is hanging, we are going to have a nice looking metal framed garaged door with windows to let in lots of light. To the right of it, you will be able to enter through a man door,  (that entryway box thingy will be taken out). We'll also be removing that bad decor carpet and replacing it with reclaimed hard wood floors.

Oh, and did you notice we took out the drop ceilings and opened it up to 12 foot ceilings.

More construction photos later...

We absolutely love working with our landlords, they are great! We have negotiated a lease and will get the keys at the beginning of February. In the meantime the landlords will be doing deconstruction and construction on their parts of the remodel, then we will start our part of the renovations some time in February after we get the keys.

We'll keep you posted on construction and our opening timeline. We are still hoping to open in late spring!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Beer Styles Survey. So easy a monkey could do it.

Hey Peeps! Click on the survey here.

We have a survey that we started on Survey Monkey(tm) to help us understand more about our friends and customers. So easy a monkey could do it.

Basically it's 6 easy questions on your preferences of some of the sudsy stuff, and it helps us get to know our customers and friends better.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Episode 1: Seats of pants don't fly well.

So, part of my reasoning for doing a blog was to update, and inform my family, friends and fans about the progress of the brewery. The other reason was to in someway pass on to others some of the knowledge I have gained from the very generous people who have helped me in my quest to start a brewery.

Previously I had owned a small business. It was a seasonal affair with a very modest income. An income if you calculated the hours worked by the amount paid in the end equated to something like 3-4 dollars an hour. However, it was a labor of love. Anyone who has owned their own business can tell you, don't try to figure out how much per hour you really make, because it will just make you depressed. I owned the business though, I loved being in charge of my destiny, being my own boss, creating a niche, and watching it grow. In a way it was like being a father I suppose.

Now starting your own business is a daunting affair. There is a lot of planning, no make that a $#!t-ton of planning to do. Whether your business idea is selling chocolates at the Farmer's market, running your own clinic or starting a software company, you need to start in the same place, the beginning. Where is the beginning you ask? I believe most business owners would agree with me, that the beginning is the business plan.

The business plan can be very simple, like a 7 page document if you have a simple concept like selling chocolates at the Farmer's Market, or a tome if you are going to be the next Twitter starting a software company. The important thing about a business plan is that it forces you to write down and think through your assumptions. You may know that your friends all love your chocolates, at Christmas time you have to work several extra weekends just to meet family demands, and you've seen some people actually melt when they eat them, but you need to substantiate your market, and have a planned growth.

By writing a business plan, you are forced to think about the present and future of the business, and plan for it. You are forced to think about your market share and how big it is, and therefore how much money you can make, which in turn helps you price your products or services, which enables you to start to plan for how much work you have to do. Without it, you are merely responding to external stimulus that you have created. It's like sailing without a compass or GPS.

Enough of the metaphors, how can it be just as important for selling chocolates as starting a software company? Let's look at it with the example of selling the chocolates. If I sold out of chocolates this weekend at Farmer's Market, and have not done my homework, I might just randomly up next week's amount I produce by 10% figuring that should cover it and if I make 10% more than last week, that's pretty good growth right? But what if you had done your homework and you had figured out your market share, (how many people come to Farmer's Market on an average weekend wanting chocolates) and you figured out that you actually needed to make 20% more? That's a lot better right. By writing a business plan it forces you to check your assumptions and plan for growth. What if you had planned for that 20% increase and on top of that, you were working on a marketing campaign to get your chocolates in stores? We are talking even a larger market share now. Put simply, a business plan makes you do research and to back up your assumptions with sound math. It's the journey, not necessarily the destination that's important here. It's the process of research, planning and implementing that plan, not just going on gut feeling alone.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hey beer drinkers, we are getting some press! Sounds like people like beer in this part of the state and are excited for us to open our doors. To tell you the truth, we can't wait. We're ecstatic we are getting lots of good feedback and good press too.

Check out our article at Bozeman Daily Chronicle here.

The article is entitled New Brewery Opening up in Livingston.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thirsty for our beer?

Ever since we announced we'll be opening the brewery in Livingston, we're hearing people can't wait! That's great news for us. We want to assure you that our focus for the brewery is consistant and quality beer served in a relaxing atmosphere. 

The renovation is underway, we'll be able to seat 60 people, have a space for acoustical music and much more. We're committed to using recycled and reclaimed products as much as possible. 

In order to reach our goal we do need help from people who like to drink beer! We've created a way for people in and around Livingston to become a part of helping us build the brewery. We have mugs and steins available for purchase. The mugs and steins will stay at the brewery and will have each owners name on them. The ownership of the mugs and steins are for life and give each owner a lifelong discount and opportunity to continually be involved as we grow and make new beer.

$900                                            $250     

A limited number of mugs (100) and steins (50) are being offered now through January 31, 2014 at a discounted price. Mugs will be $250, a savings of $50 and Steins will be $900, a savings of $100.

Stein owners will receive everything mug owners receive (steins replace the mugs), including $1 off every pint for life, but they will also get three free pints each month for life, a limited edition Katabatic “Goldenstein” and a member-only Goldenstein t-shirt.

 Mug owners will receive a $1 off each pint in each mug for life along with discounts on t-shirts and hats as well as exclusive invites to special beer tapping events. 

Mugs and steins are on sale now at


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Winds Coming Soon To a Brewery Near You!

Phew... we have finally gotten to the point where we can tell everyone that we are opening a  brewery. Up until this point we've kept it a pretty well hid secret. Meaning only our friends and families knew. Now we're ready to get it out there to the general public. Here is a press release that went out to local newspapers, feel free to share in any way.

Brice Jones
(406) 370-5923

Winds Coming Soon To a Brewery Near You!
Livingston Will Have a New Brewery in 2014

Livingston, MT will be home to a new brewery in the Summer of 2014. Katabatic Brewing Company has begun renovations at 117 E Park St. and the owners hope to be up and serving craft beer by May or June.

Katabatic Brewing Company was founded by two local Montanans, both of whom are very passionate about crafting full-bodied beer and building on the local beer culture based on Montana traditions. When asked about the origin of the name, Brice Jones, co-owner, responds, "We wanted a name that embodied the unique character of Livingston and captured the essence of our tagline, Rugged, Yet Refined.

Katabatic is a type of downslope wind, which can be severe at times. Katabatic winds form when cool air from the tops of mountains rushes downhill, sometimes at amazing speeds. Katabatic winds are the type of winds that Livingston experiences and one of the things that makes this town very unique."

Renovations began about three weeks ago. LaNette Jones, co-owner, is excited about the new space, "We have a great partnership with the landlords, Eric and Caroline Schneider. They have started demolition of the inside of the building and will be renovating the space to fit our needs. Once the shell of the building is renovated, Katabatic Brewing Company will take over and begin installing our brewing equipment and bar and making the space our own."

Katabatic Brewing Company will house a 10-barrel brewing system and the owners anticipate brewing 625 barrels of beer in their first year of business. To put the number in perspective, 625 barrels equals 155,000 pints of beer. Beer will be served in the tasting room, where customers are allowed to consume three 16 oz beers in a 24-hour period. Beer will also be distributed in kegs to bars and restaurants in the region.

The tasting room will be open from noon-8pm. The owners will focus on creating four to five signature beers that will always be on tap and will have a rotation of four beers throughout the seasons. Katabatic Brewing Company will be a production brewery only, which means it will serve only beer, no food. "This gives us the opportunity to focus on making good beer," said Brice Jones.

As the renovation continues, many people have already asked how they can get involved. LaNette says, "When we started planning our brewery we began to realize, Montanans take pride and ownership in their local breweries. So we've created a way for people in and around Livingston to become a part of helping us build the brewery. We have mugs and steins available for purchase. The mugs and steins will stay at the brewery and will have each owners name engraved on them. The ownership of the mugs and steins are for life and give each owner a lifelong discount and opportunity to continually be involved as we grow and make new beer."

A limited number of mugs (100) and steins (50) are being offered now through January 31, 2014 at a discounted price. Mugs will be $250, a savings of $50 and Steins will be $900, a savings of $100. Mug owners will receive a $1 off each pint in each mug for life along with discounts on t-shirts and hats as well as exclusive invites to special beer tapping events. Stein owners will receive everything mug owners receive, but they will also get three free pints each month for life, a limited edition Katabatic “Goldenstein” and a member-only Goldenstein t-shirt. Mugs and steins are on sale now at

For pictures of the renovation and to follow the updates on our brewery visit


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The best thing about beer is the beer!

The best thing about beer is beer! A wise man once said that, actually scratch that. I just made that up. Sounds like drunken inspiration. Let me explain myself.... By the way this photo is of my brew kettle where I added almost a pound of whole leaf hops that went into an IPA last week. They were heirloom hops I got from a guy who got the rhizomes from a broken down homestead in Ovando, MT. It hadn't been kept up for 80 years. I'm making a single hop IPA with them to try out a different malt bill than the IPA recipe I have been working on. They smell piney, spicy, and very citrusy, with a touch of skunky/dank/cattiness. So back to my tangent...

The path I am on, I did not necessarily plan. When we started this endeavor we thought about the business side of things through and through, researched for over a year, went to some schooling, wrote the business plan, put it in front of advisers, talked to brewers, talked to people in the industry and I had no idea the craft beer industry was so cool. 

The craft beer industry is all about having fun. Little did I know that when I started. I thought it was all business, just kinda sudsy. The business is welcoming, warm, respectful, crazy, off-the-wall, and especially accommodating to say the least, and fun. I have talked with close to a dozen different breweries or the employees/ brewers/ staff and they all are super excited for us, helped us in different ways with information, and have been super accommodating. Truly cool.

The other thing that is interesting is how passionate the people in the craft beer industry are about beer. They love to talk about it. They love to make it, they love to taste it, look at the color, look at the bubbles, smell it, swish it in their mouths and swallow the last drop while pining for more.

Right now, I fancy myself as a traveling salesman with a suitcase of beer. I show up to talk to potential investors with cooler in hand, crack a beer and talk about beer. Whether the presentation is 9 am or 8 pm, it's never too early or late to talk about beer.
Here is a Bier-de-Garde (French Farmhouse Ale) that some might have tasted before. It's a repeat offender on my brew list. I would also say, I think it is hands down LaNette's favorite recipe that we've made so far. LaNette, if you don't know, is the brains of Katabatic, some say the real boss and my wife. She'll be doing the books, brews beer herself and she has a great palate. I might even be convinced it's better than my own. I'm no slouch though.

The closer we get to opening, the more I love my new reality. I just really love beer. Making beer to test recipes, or certain hops, or malt bills, ah man, that is tough. Seems like every week I have to break out a new beer to try. If it isn't mine, it's one that I buy. I haven't had that one before, hmm, I think I'll try it. 

At Katabatic, that's what we're about. We are going to have 4 to 5 standards with 4 to 6 rotating handles after we get up and running so you can have the old standby's or try something new, something maybe a little unique. 


Monday, October 28, 2013

A ton of bricks!

We were just visiting our brewery space over the weekend to take measurements and see what was uncovered during the deconstruction. We found brick! That is mainly awesome because we are going to try to revive it back to it's former glory. Secondarily it's awesome because we found that our contractor got creative and carved the State of Montana into the plaster.

We also found out that over half of the space has 12 foot tall ceilings. That will be good for the fermentors. The taproom will look super cool with high ceilings too.
You're looking at the cool brick wall that will be renovated and will be behind the sample counter where the server will take orders. We will take it all down to brick, as well as take out those ceiling rafter looking boards and have a great open/airy feeling.

Right now Encompass V2 architectural firm is designing the interior and getting our build out plan together. Steve Turner at along with Encompass V2 are coordinating to design the brewery layout, so we can have a very efficient system. We are really excited things are coming along.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Real World

What the heck is a Katabatic?

Well it ain't no fuzzy whisker-faced ringtail cat like creature with bat wings. It's a WIND! We named our company Katabatic because people say Livingston is windy. The locals just say it's breezy. Besides Katabatic sounds way cooler than Breezy Brewing Company or Windy Brewing Company.

Katabatic winds are downslope winds, as opposed to anabatic winds which are upslope winds. Chinook winds are largely anabatic. Katabatic are opposite of warm Chinook winds. Basically what happens is a pool of cold air is high (e.i. Yellowstone Basin), something causes the pool of cold air to spill out of the high country, and as cold air sinks, it flows like water downslope, down valley. The steeper the gradient, the faster the air goes. Let's just say that the pool of cold air on the Yellowstone plateau has a 3000 foot drop from Gardiner to Livingston, and 50 miles to travel. That creates a steep gradient. Then you have the gunsight like hole that the Yellowstone flows through, just south of town and it is aimed right at Livingston. So there you have it. The reason that Livingston is "breezy". Now you can go home and tell your mom that you learned something today.

Yesterday was my last day of work with the Forest Service. I am on final, stepping out the door into the Great Unknown. One of my foreman asked "how I liked the real world?" I said I didn't know yet, but when I find out I'd let him know. Watch out "real world" Brice is on the loose!

We found a location for the brewery and we are drawing up the lease terms right now. It's a great location, right downtown. The landlords are wonderful to work with.  We have a wonderful architect. She has designed many beautiful buildings around Montana. Currently the architect and consultant are working on a schematic and layout for the brewery. So we are anxious to see the results!

Real World 26 title.jpegI'm anxious also to see what the "real world" like too.