Nestled in the heart of downtown White Sulphur Springs you’ll find a local microbrewery running on passion and good beer. Chris and Barry Hedrich opened 2 Basset Brewery in February 2016 after a one-and-a-half year renovation of their space. Inspired by their basset hounds, Stanley and Leroy, and Barry’s fondness for beer, Barry began experimenting with the chemistry of brewing.
One of their goals was to open a brewery that brought people to White Sulphur Springs, as well as to make a quality product that restaurants and bars would be proud to serve. It’s safe to say that the Hedrichs have accomplished both goals in their just three years in operation.
Prior to opening, Chris and Barry were both very aware of the impact that a successful microbrewery could have on its neighboring watering holes. With this in mind, it was absolutely essential for them to communicate with their community and garner support for the microbrewery. This included personal visits to each restaurant and bar owner. This mindful approach was much appreciated by the community and 2 Basset microbrews can be found on-tap at every bar or restaurant in White Sulphur Springs. In return, the brewery encourages guests to continue their evening at other establishments in town after the taproom closes.
Anyone who has visited with Barry about the community has likely been told that “White Sulphur Springs is a getaway that’s not far away!” Due to its Central Montana location off Highway 89, which runs from Gardiner to Browning connecting Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, White Sulphur Springs continues to see increasing numbers of tourists. Visitors are coming to soak in the hot springs, float the Smith River, hunt the area, ski at Showdown, and to have an authentic Montana experience. With the addition of the microbrewery, increasing number and variety of restaurants, and growing lodging options, more visitors are coming to the area than ever before.
Chris and Barry estimate that 70 percent of their taproom sales are from visitors to White Sulphur Springs. The growing number of brewery visitors (including locals) has led the brewery to consider opportunities to maximize their unused space. Inspired by Enbar in Great Falls, Barry is currently building a “pedlet” which creates a temporary pedestrian outlet, allowing an establishment to create a patio space on their sidewalk. In exchange, they will temporarily lose a couple parking spaces out front, however, it will create outside seating and allow people to visit the brewery with their dogs. When 2 Basset Brewery took the “pedlet” idea to the City Commission, they received resounding support. The city was positive and excited about the growth and opportunity to bring — and keep — people in town.
Chris and Barry have opened their hearts and kegs to locals and visitors in White Sulphur Springs and along the way they’ve found many similarities between bassets and beer — “basset hounds are friendly and very social, laid back, sometimes they behave and sometimes they don’t. But without fail, they make you laugh.” Chris shared that, “Laughter is a good thing. If we can make people smile and remember the brewery, it’s a good thing.”
It is community partners and businesses like 2 Basset Brewery who help create the identity of a place. What Chris and Barry are selling is more than beer, it’s an authentic experience. From outstanding customer service, to an identifiable brand, and excellent culture, 2 Basset Brewery is doing it right. When establishments go out of their way to add personality to their business and to do what they do well, people keep coming back.
Microbrew connoisseurs can find 2 Basset brews on-tap at over 21 locations in Montana – including the local stops in White Sulphur Springs. Be sure to stop by the brewery on your next drive through White Sulphur Springs and pick up your limited edition Barry shirt!
Interested in learning more about the economic impact of breweries in Montana?
In 2016, the Bureau of Business and Economic Research University of Montana researched the impact of craft brewing in Montana and prepared this report: http://www.bber.umt.edu/pubs/econ/BrewersImpact2016.pdf.
Article written by Anna Strange Consulting for the Montana Business Assistance Connection.