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Montana Distillery in downtown Missoula pulls the plug, blames taxes and pandemic

Just days after KettleHouse Brewing said it was closing its Northside taproom and would release several employees, the Montana Distillery followed, saying it too was closing its doors at its downtown location.

The distillery, which opened on Woody Street five years ago, announced its plans Sunday afternoon on Facebook. It said the coronavirus pandemic and rising property taxes led them to look for another location outside Missoula.

“Unfortunately, the restrictions of partially opening that were put in place are not cost effective,” the post stated. “But honestly, it is more of the fact that our Property Taxes went from $5k per year to over $26k per year in our current location.”

The owners could not be reached for comment on Monday.

According to the Montana Department of Revenue, the property located at 629 Woody Street had a market value of $529,800 in 2018. The value increased in 2019 to $752,250 after it was reassessed by the state.

As a result of the new market value, the property’s taxable value increased from $10,013 in 2018 to $14,217 in 2019. The property is listed under Boxer Associates LLC.

The property at 627 Woody, also owned by Boxer, had a market value of $265,000 in 2018. The market value increased in 2019 to $510,580, resulting in a taxable value of $9,650 – up from $5,008 the year before.

Under the state assessment, the market value of the two properties combined increased from $794,800 in 2018 to $1.26 million in 2019, or an increase of roughly $468,030.

In their post, the owners blamed the city, not the state’s assessed value.

“Due to our location in the City of Missoula, we never qualified for any area re-development, yet our increased property taxes and permitting proved to be worth while to the (city’s) structure,” the distillery stated. “We are relocating to a community in Montana, that is small business friendly.”

The post didn’t disclose the distillery’s future location.

Over the weekend, the KettleHouse also announced its plans to close its Northside taproom. It placed the cause solely on the pandemic.

According to the Department of Revenue, the state placed a value on the Northside property at $753,670 in 2018, giving it a taxable value at $14,244. The market value increased in 2019 to $869,270, boosting the taxable value to $16,429.