Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Mark Hebert

Blue Ridge Brewing to hold grand opening in Malta this Saturday


Courtesy Photo

Brianna and Bryan Shores and their children, Daxton, Demi and Mila stand behind the bar at Blue Ridge Brewing in Malta as the family prepares for the new brewery's grand opening on Saturday, July 28 starting at 2 p.m.

It's been a long time coming, but the barrels of suds have been brewed, the kegs have been tapped and the popcorn will be popping this Saturday as Bryan and Brianna Shores' dream has become a reality.

"It seems like it has taken forever, and it has been so much work for us, our family and our friends, but we officially open for business Saturday and we couldn't be happier," Bryan said.

On Saturday, July 28, Bryan and Brianna invite the community down to Blue Ridge Brewing for their official grand opening on a day which will include wood fire pizza for sale by A.E. Catering; live music from both Nate Salsbery and New Dog, Old Trick (Noah Harms and John Kinney) as well as, of course, beer, at the 320 S 1st St. E location in Malta.

Bryan and Brianna were set to meet with the PCN last week to talk about their newest venture - the brewery, which sits next door to the carwash they purchased in town about two years ago - but Bryan got called away at the last minute by his main job as an engineer for BNSF (the PCN would catch up with him the next day as he was brewing.) Brianna, on the other hand, was able to meet at the Blue Ridge Brewery building for the interview during her lunch break from her main job at The First State Bank of Malta.

Brianna said that when she and Bryan purchased the land next to the car wash, it was originally intended to house his sign business, Shore's Metal Design, but a series of events unfolded that pushed the couple to want to open Malta's first brewery.

"We both enjoy craft brews and breweries, and every town we travel through, we stop to see if there is one we haven't tried," she said. "We became friendly with the owners of the Busted Knuckle in Glasgow and Triple Dog Brewing in Havre and started to learn more about the business side of breweries."

With the help of family and friends, local businesses and the craft brew community, the building started to take shape with the metal shop on the east side and the brewery on the west. Hand-made tables (built by Bryan) feature re-purposed wood from the grain elevator currently being torn down across the street from the brewery, as is the handmade bar. The walls are lined with tin also taken from the old elevator, and a large wooden sign hangs on the building's northern wall, above the window looking onto South 1st Street East, which reads "Blue Ridge." The sign was recently found on Kevin Peigneux's and years ago was supposed to hang on Shores' family land which they used to guide hunting trips on. What is not reclaimed or re-purposed are the new shiny, stainless steel brewing tanks and machinery which take up a large of a portion of the building.

Bryan said that prior to deciding to open the brewery in Malta, other brewery owners cautioned him about the amount of work a successful business would require and the costs associated with it..."double the time, double the money," they cautioned.

"They were right, and it has been a lot of work," he said. "But, now that we are here, so close to the grand opening, I can honestly say that all of the hard work was worth it and, knowing what I know now, I would do it all again."

Blue Ridge currently has three beers on tap (the tap handles themselves are constructed from antler spikes) which are an IPA, an amber ale and a wheat beer (the beers vary in alcohol by volume from 4.2-to-5-percent.) The beers are named by the Brew Ridge Brewery Founders, a group of 54 which helped the Shores get the brewery rolling, and focus on local areas and people including "Iron Stake IPA" and "KillWoman Wheat" named after a coulee south of town where some of the founders hunt. Brianna said the response from the community about the brewery has been terrific.

"It's sort of overwhelming," she said. "People are really behind us and take pride in the fact that we are 100-percent local and that Malta now has its own brewery."

Unlike a regular bar or pub, a brewery must follow a daily set of rules as far as what they can serve and when they can be open. Blue Ridge Brewery's tap room is open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturday. By law, customers can only consume 48 ounces of beer at the brewery (or three pints per customer) and then they can purchase growlers full of beer to take home to consume.

Mark Hebert

Dax and Bryan work on some new brew.

Bryan and Brianna, both Malta High School graduates, found out that the had received all their proper licensing a few weeks ago and held a soft opening, announcing it on social media, and were soon sitting in a packed brewery. Now, nearly a month later, the couple is excited to officially open to the public with the party on Saturday.

"We are very excited and more than ready," Bryan said. "There is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. It was a lot of work and I am sure there were a lot of people who were thinking, 'man, what is taking so long.' With the help of our family, friends ... Randy Shores, Cody Mikesell, Zane Doney, Tim Tatafu, Lennie Cebulski, and Shaun Carnahan ... and local businesses we are proud to be representing Malta and Phillips County. We hope to see everyone at the grand opening."


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