HELENA – Three recent college graduates' plans for a new Helena brewery made a significant stride last week.
The entrepreneurs behind Ten Mile Creek Brewing Company signed a lease on Dec. 8 for space in the New York Block of Helena's Downtown Walking Mall.
“The historic walking mall is just a key piece of Helena, so being a part of that is important for us,” Riley Tubbs said.
Tubbs, a 2014 University of Montana graduate, is starting the brewery with his friends Jordan Keltz and Ethan Kohoutek.
The three have been homebrewing for some time and tossed around the idea of starting a Helena brewery while imbibing around Missoula’s establishments in college.
Kohoutek said they want to start a brewery because they have a passion for beer, and they want to help create a sense of community like Lewis and Clark Brewing Co. and Blackfoot River Brewing have done.
Plus, they plan to source as much as they can from local suppliers.
“Not only bring Helena more good beer – great beer – (but) help out the local community, economy,” Kohoutek said.
“We can make a pretty cool community down here,” he added.
Layout thoughts include a space for brewing in the back, a bar along the left side of the room as you walk in and seating through the remaining open space.
“Taprooms are pretty simple. You just need a bar, manufacturing and seating,” Kohoutek said.
If everything goes according to plan, they hope to open the doors to Ten Mile sometime in late spring 2015 or early summer.
The next step for the brewers will be to obtain a microbrewing license, a process they said could take 100 days. While waiting to hear back about the license, they will be reinforcing the floor in the brewing area, building the bar and working on other interior projects – much of which they plan to do themselves.
They’ve been reaching out to Helena’s two established breweries for guidance along the way, and owners at both places have been extremely helpful, the group said.
For now, they are still testing out their brews in Tubbs' shop. Then recruiting family and friends as the testers.
Keltz said they plan to debut with a wheat pale ale, red ale, India pale ale and oatmeal stout.
“Everyone seems pretty excited about it,” Keltz said.
They said right now they are concentrated on opening a taproom, with no plans for bottling or distribution.
Keltz said they may expand in the future, but would still operate a taproom in their downtown location.