Keepin’ it local is the name of the game for Canyon Ferry Brewing owners, Tadd Fuhrman and Kelli Gibbs. Both native Montanans, Tadd (from Opheim) and Kelli (a Townsend local) started homebrewing in 2013 in an effort to combine Kelli’s passion for cooking and Tadd’s appreciation for craft beer.
After several years of testing recipes and traveling the state together sampling craft beer and gourmet food, the idea for Canyon Ferry Brewing was born. Subsequent courses at Portland State and a brewing internship at Imagine Nation Brewing in Missoula brought opening a business into reality.
Canyon Ferry Brewing opened on June 7, 2019. The brewery is founded on the site of Townsend’s original saloon. Inspired by the history of the location, they wanted to create a brewery with a welcoming atmosphere and an appreciation for the site’s history. Established by Thomas Dixon in 1900, the saloon was one of the finest bars in the northwest, created from fine cherry wood with extravagant mirrors and a back bar. Today, Kelli and Tadd honor the tradition of Dixon’s original brewery by crafting a selection of beers that keep with the Montana tradition of excellence.
One of their business goals was to employ as many local Townsend subcontractors as possible for the building. By the end of the build, 99 percent of the building was completed by locals, including the roof, gutter, cement work, plumbing and more. Even the table and bar were built by a local Townsend carpenter. While they were not able to save the old building, the builders used the original wood for accent walls inside the new brewery.
Since opening, Tadd and Kelli have been overwhelmed by the support they have received from the local community as well as from other Montana brewers. Tadd shared, “we couldn’t have done this without the help of other brewers.”
Come enjoy a local craft brew at Canyon Ferry Brewing, located at 300 Broadway St, Townsend, open 7 days a week.
Monday & Tuesday: 2-8 PM
Wednesday – Sunday: Noon-8 PM
Monday – Thursday: 4-8 PM
Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Noon-8 PM
Follow the brewery on Facebook for upcoming events.
Article written by Anna Strange Consulting for the Montana Business Assistance Connection.