Visit these Hospitality/Gaming Industry Web sites:
Montana Gaming Group: http://www.montanagaminggroup.com
Montana Gaming Research & Education Fund: http://www.gamblingmontana.org
– Page 15
“Dedicated to Serving the Montana Tavern and Gaming Industries”
Vol. 19, Number 9
of 2 percent
By Paul Tash
Montana Tavern Times
Video gaming machine (VGM) revenues in the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year
2014 totaled the most in nearly five years,
according to preliminary figures recently
released by the state’s Gambling Control
VGM revenues increased to about
$14.7 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $14.4 million in fourth quarter
FY13, an increase of about 2 percent. Last
quarter’s revenues are the highest since the
$15 million total in the first quarter of
2010, the quarter before Montana’s smoking ban took effect.
Despite last quarter’s gain, tax revenues remain about 8 percent behind
A Tash Communications Publication
the industry’s high mark of $16 million
recorded in the second quarter of FY08.
Last quarter’s revenues were also up
nearly 3 percent from the previous
quarter (3Q FY14), which were about
Revenues for the entire 2014
fiscal year totaled about $57
million, about the same as the
Industry representatives hope last quarter’s
results mark the start of
more stable, positive
VGM revenue growth.
Revenues have been streaking, both good and bad, for
The first three quarters of
FY14 showed slight decreases, so the fourth quarter,
which ended June 30, provided a nice rebound.
Previous to this year, the
industry enjoyed a string of
See REVENUE Page 6
Summit is back with new games
By Paul Tash
Montana Tavern Times
Summit Gaming recently
released its first upgrade to its
Royal Touch machine in nearly six
years, and representatives of the
company said more
games are on the way
The gaming manufacturer released four
new line games in
April with its new Royal Touch
upgrade, which also includes $50
and $100 bill acceptors and is tier
The line games are Peter
Jacobsen, Sands of Time II,
This publication endorsed by
Treasure Hunt II, and Raging
Rubies. The Peter Jacobsen line
game “is all new,” while the other
three titles carry over from successful keno games, said Kelly
Michalies, Summit’s operations
manager in Billings.
Another feature of the Royal
Touch upgrade is expanded menu
screens, which allow operators to
“turn on” more games that are
already on the machine. So cus-
Change service requested: 914 Holmes Ave., Butte, MT 59701
P A I D
Permit No. 93
tomers receive an additional five
games at one time that they didn’t
have access to before.
The upgrade also includes
some hardware enhancements. For
example, state inspectors don’t
have to remove the
logic board to access
machine data, they
can simply use a flash
drive. Removing logic
boards runs the risk of
Kit Seaton, a game designer for
Summit, said response to the new
line games has been “very good.”
“We’ve been concentrating on
the Royal Touch in the short term,”
Seaton said. “We’ll be updating
other platforms in the near future.”
Those platforms include the
MegaPlex and the Royal Touch
He said the updates will proSee SUMMIT Page 8
Janet Prescott, chairperson of a Montana Tavern
working on changes to the
organization’s by-laws, is
requesting input from MTA
“I’m asking members to
review the current by-laws,
which are in the back of the
2014 MTA Contact Book,
and develop ideas to be presented to the attendees at
convention,” she said. “This
would enable us to have discussion about the proposals
and go from there.”
MTA convention is Sept.
8-11 in Bozeman.
Montana Tavern Times – 2
Tri-county storms on to raise funds
By Paul Tash
Montana Tavern Times
An old-fashioned thunder
bumper failed to dampen the festive mood at the Tri-County
Licensed Beverage Association’s
annual dinner-fundraiser July 15 in
Helena at Jorgenson’s.
Festivities started outside in
nice weather, which lasted about
an hour. A strong wind then blew
some rain in, and pushed the party
inside. But no matter, Jorgenson’s
had dinner set up downstairs, and
the evening progressed beautifully.
Tri-County volunteers pushed a
variety of fundraisers, available to
party-goers for a donation. Those
events included beer pong and a
popular hoop shoot. In addition,
Jorgenson’s Barb Morris dealt onehand games of five-card stud.
Dennis White, the dinner’s
longtime emcee, worked the
microphone, encouraging participation in the fundraisers and keeping the evening moving along.
The Tri-County group also raffled off several prizes, including
some cold, hard cash. A delicious
prime rib buffet, featuring the
cheesiest cheesy potatoes ever, was
served around 7:30.
After dinner, the popular
Calcutta grabbed everybody’s
attention as 11 lucky participants
Taking seats at the Calcutta
were Yacht Basin, Rocking R Bar,
Mountain West Bank, Off the Wall
Advertising, Island Liquor, First
Security Bank, VFW East Helena,
Papa Ray’s Casino, Lucky Lils
Casino, Chubby’s Bar, and Mallory
Redmond, who won her seat in a
White began the Calcutta by
calling seat numbers drawn from a
tumbler. The first eight numbers
called eliminated those players sitting in the corresponding seats.
Those eight who were first out
won $200. The final three finish in
the “big money,” with third place
receiving $400, second place $800
and first place $2,000.
The last two standing, or sitting
as the case may be, were Neven
Sather of Papa Ray’s and Lavonne
Hahn of Chubby’s Bar. They
decided to split the top prize
money and take home $1,400.
The third-place winner, receiving $400, was Dax Cetraro of the
Rialto, who earlier had purchased a
seat from First Security Bank …
for $500. Sorry, Dax, but your
“win” cost you a hundred bucks.
As always, proceeds from the
night’s fundraising activities as
always help Tri-County Licensed
Beverage Association support a
variety of non-profit organizations
and community events throughout
Montana Tavern Times – 3
Paul Tash photos
LAVONNE HAHN is thrilled to
split the top Calcutta money with
Neven Sather, top, while Barb
Grubbs, left, shows off her raffle
winnings to her husband Jim.
Lower left, Maria Bachmeier,
Kristen Cetraro and Nava Connor
pose. Lower right, Chris Simac
and Ashley Bachmeier try their
hand at hoop shoot. Bottom,
Randy Wilke gives his wife Sue
some beer-pong pointers.
Montana Tavern Times – 4
Membership, convention and football
By Chris Caldwell
The Montana Tavern
Association office has been
busy with membership renewals
and convention details this past
July is the beginning of our
new membership year, and
memberships have been coming in steadily and at a higher
number than this time last year.
We’ve also gained some new
If you haven’t yet renewed,
please do so at your earliest
opportunity. All members paid
by Aug. 15 are listed in our
Convention Agenda book.
MTA’s 59th Annual
Convention and Trade Show is
only five weeks away! The
Convention is Monday through
Thursday, Sept. 8-11, at the
GranTree Inn in Bozeman.
Registrations for the
Convention are starting to come
in. If you plan to attend and did-
he Trade Show
is filling up,
but a few booth
spaces are still
n’t receive a registration form,
call or email me and I’ll make
sure you get one.
The Trade Show is filling up,
but a few booth spaces are still
available. If you are a vendor
who plans to participate in our
trade show, I recommend you
Our Convention host, the
Gallatin County Licensed
Beverage Association, has
great plans for those who are
coming to Convention. It will be
well worth your time to attend.
Hope to see you at Convention.
This year’s “On The
House*Pitality” brochures and
Footballmania tickets have
been distributed to many establishments across the state and
are available for sale.
Get yours now!
This promotion entitles the
purchaser to 60 free drink tickets for taverns across the state.
You will also be entered in a
football sweepstakes for prizes
generated from 17 weeks of the
2013 NFL football season.
Eleven prizes are awarded
each week, and a grand prize is
awarded at the end of the season. A whole season of fun and
60 free drinks for just $20. You
can’t beat that.
For those tavern owners
wishing to participate in this
promotion by selling tickets,
please call or email me for
more information. Incentives
are available for the sellers.
As always, if you have any
questions or need any information call me at (406) 442-5040,
send an email to
[email protected], or if you
are a member, leave a message on our hot line.
State’s liquor warehouse an extremely busy place
as long as the others. These racks, howevBy Steve Swanson
er, make up the repack section, where indiLiquor Control Division
vidual bottles are picked from one box and
Each day hundreds upon thousands of
cases of liquor move across the state of
All product picked goes to a vestibule,
Montana. Half of the freight is destined for
agency liquor stores, while the
other half is destined for the
state liquor warehouse.
Located in Helena in an
unmarked building about
100,000 square feet in size, the
state liquor warehouse is the
hub for all liquor sold in the
state. It’s constantly turning
product to fill the state’s liquor
Twenty-six columns of racking, each more than 150 feet
long and packed with cases,
make up the center of the warehouse. These columns contain
just about every size and variety
where it is counted one last time, shrink
of whiskey, vodka, rum, gin, tequila and
and loaded on a truck for delivery.
brandy imaginable. From the most popular
The Liquor Control Division employs 30
products, such as Black Velvet Canadian
individuals to run the distribution and licensWhiskey and Nikolai Vodka, down to onetime special order products, such as Dry Fly ing functions. A third of these individuals
operate forklifts and pallets jacks, zipping
Triticale Whiskey, these columns hold it all.
and down and snaking through the
On any given day, about 140,000 cases
columns as they pick cases to fill each
of liquor are stored at the warehouse.
Immediately to the north and east rests
Each month, we ship an average of
pallet after pallet of additional inventory.
62,000 cases from the warehouse. In the
These are regularly stacked three pallets
past fiscal year, which ended on June 30,
high and five pallets deep.
we shipped a total of 752,977 cases. That
To the west is another set of racks, just
total represents an increase of almost 3
percent over the prior fiscal year and
equates to more than $124 million in sales.
Above the warehouse sits a small mezzanine that houses the rest of the division’s
staff. The distribution team sits
on one side, researching new
products, ordering products to
replenish what was shipped,
answering phone calls and monitoring accounts. On the other
side sits the licensing team, processing applications, maintaining
accounts and answering a wide
array of phone calls and emails.
July marks the time of year
when the licensing team reviews
and processes masses of onpremises license renewals. To
date, we have received about
2,100 renewals, more than 750
of which were filed electronically
via the Department of Revenue’s online
Taxpayer Access Point.
The sounds of horns, back-up beepers,
telephones, printers, copy machines and
voices continually echo throughout the
warehouse and offices for more than 10
hours each work day.
Each day, the staff works on deadlines
to ensure orders are processed, cases are
picked, incoming trucks are unloaded and
outgoing trucks are loaded. Evening
comes, the lights go out, and the cycle
starts right back over again the next day.
n any given
140,000 cases of
liquor are stored
at the warehouse.
Montana Tavern Times – 5
Protect your assets from cybercriminals
By Conte Vorobetz
Gambling Control Division
(Last of three-part series)
Last month we discussed
some practices to help reduce
the risk of cyber criminals infiltrating your system. In this last
part of the series we will discuss other practices to reduce
If an intruder corrupted your
computer systems or destroyed
software programs, files and
folders on the system, could
you continue to operate your
business effectively? Will your
insurance coverage compensate for the lost business of
several days, while the computer systems are repaired, and
information is rebuilt manually?
Many general insurance policies no longer cover cyber losses.
Backups are another form of
insurance to help you recover
when an intruder attacks or a
disaster such as fire or flood
harms your technology environment. Copying files, folders,
and software onto some other
media (like a disk or CD) provides a source for recovery if it
Manually creating copies
can be tedious, and automated
options are available. You may
already have some of the content in another form, such as
software programs that were
initially loaded from CD.
Keep software current
Software vendors routinely
provide updates (also called
patches) to fix problems and
enhance functionality within
their products. In addition,
many of these patches fix vulnerabilities that could be used
by viruses and other attacks to
harm your computer and its
contents. By keeping software
up-to-date, software malfunctions and opportunities for system compromise are minimized.
Good access control is critical for wireless access since
use of this type of connectivity
is less visible. It is not uncommon for someone sitting in a
car in the parking lot to be able
to access an unsecured wireless network and jeopardize
everything on the entire network.
You may have a wireless or
remote access (dial-in) connection to your network and not
realize it, since many vendors
install them to provide remote
support capabilities. Point-ofsales devices and inventory
devices communicate to central
servers via wireless.
The more access restrictions you can legitimately place
on your network using blocking
capabilities within the firewall
and other similar services, the
easier it will be to keep it
When access to information
cannot be tightly controlled,
such as e-mail or a credit card
transaction over the Internet,
this information can be concealed through a mathematical
process called encryption.
Encryption transforms information from one form (readable
text) to another (encrypted or
scrambled text). The encrypted
text appears to be gibberish
and remains so for people who
don’t have the formulas
scheme and the decryption
keys) to turn the encrypted text
back into readable text.
The encryption mechanism
must be sufficiently complex or
someone with electronic tools
could guess the formulas and
defeat the encryption.
Establish risk plan
In order to be effective,
security must be consistently
applied across the organization.
For example, the use of very
tight technology controls with
lax or non-existent organization-
al security policies does not
provide protection. The best
way to validate your security is
through the application of a
security risk management
In a structured sequence of
activities, participants at multiple levels of the organization
work together to devise a plan
that makes sense for the needs
of the organization based on its
use of technology. To be comprehensive, this planning
process must consider the following areas:
1. Security awareness and
training for all technology users
2. Organizational security
policies and regulations
3. Collaborative security
management (partners, thirdparties and contractors)
4. Contingency planning and
5. Physical security
6. Network and data security
In the rush of daily activities
it is easy to overlook the need
for such things as employee
security training, contingency
planning, and disaster recovery.
You may not even be aware
of the level of dependency your
organization has developed on
technology and the potential
impact that a failure of one or
more components will cause.
See CYBER Page 6
Know your candidates before they’re legislators
By Neil Peterson
GIA Executive Director
The 2015 Legislative
Session convenes in a little
over five months.
Campaigns will be heating
up in the next few weeks
as candidates look to peak
on Election Day in
Every two years I write
a similar article to this one
sometime during an election year, but it’s worth
repeating for the
Montanans who make a living in the hospitality indusnew slate of legislators comes to Helena.
It is nearly impossible for your represenWhen we enacted term limits for our
to find the time to meet before
Legislature, we fundamentally shifted the
January with all the candidates to discuss
way your representatives work to improve
our issues and concerns and to develop
your business climate during a legislative
session. Just when relationships have been working relationships with them. Nor is
there enough time to find out what issues
developed, term limits kick in, and a whole
e can’t wait
until after the
election to get
it’ll be too late to
make a meaningful
are important to the candidates.
That’s why it is so important that
folks involved in the hospitality industry take the time now to get to know
the candidates from your Senate and
Take the time to develop a relationship with your candidates, so
when they get to Helena in January,
you can be a source of information on
issues that may arise during the session that will impact our industry.
You are a voter in their district,
and so it’s you who they seek to represent during the legislative session.
We can’t wait until after the election
to get involved because it’ll be too
late to make a meaningful difference.
I encourage all of you to get involved
now. Come January 2015 it will make a difference. Thanks, and I look forward to
working with all members of the Legislature
in the New Year.
Montana Tavern Times - 6
from Page 5
By developing a security risk
management plan, these
dependencies will be highlighted and mitigation steps can be
identified to reduce the potential
impact of technology compromise or failure.
Get technical expertise
Because you have a business to run and technology
security is not something you
can afford to have consume all
or most of your time, good technical assistance can be a valuable asset. Employees, friends,
and family with a technical
interest can help you get started, but you need someone with
security training and experience
to tie all of the individual activities together into a working
security protection mechanism
for your organization.
Further information on these
steps can be found at Internet
Security Alliance website:
you become a victim of cybercrime, contact the Gambling
Investigations Bureaus or your
local Law Enforcement Agency
(Conte Vorobetz has been
an investigator for the Gambling
Investigation Bureau since
2011. He specializes in online
investigations and can be
reached at 406-586-9703.)
from Page 1
nine consecutive quarters of revenue growth, but that streak followed eight consecutive quarters of
severe revenue declines. Those
drops in 2010 and ‘11, which
totaled about 23 percent during the
period, coincided with the nation’s
economic recession and the state’s
Of the state’s seven largest
counties, five showed growth last
month – Cascade, Flathead,
Gallatin, Lewis and Clark, and
Missoula – while Yellowstone was
flat, and Silver Bow showed a
decline. Flathead paced the larger
counties, improving a solid 7.3
percent over last year, with revenues moving to $1,219,000 from
Fourth quarter results for the
other largest counties are:
• Cascade, up 3.4 percent to
The Montana Tavern Times welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must
include the writer’s name and address. The word limit is 300.
Mail to Montana Tavern Times, 914 Holmes Ave., Butte 59701, or email
the office at [email protected] munications.com. The Times reserves the right
not to print letters it finds objectionable.
A Tash Communications Publication
Tavern Times Business and News Office:
914 Holmes Ave., Butte, MT 59701
• TEL: 406-782-3660 • FAX: 406-494-1324 • E-MAIL: [email protected]
Paul Tash, Editor/Publisher • [email protected]
Office phone: 406-782-3660 • Cell: 406-491-0100
Paul Vang, Contributing Writer • [email protected]
Ad Production • [email protected]
Reprints of articles and back issues are available at a cost of $10.
If you wish to begin receiving the Montana Tavern Times,
send your name, mailing address, telephone number and $29 to the address above.
Postmaster: Please send address change requests to
914 Holmes Ave., Butte, MT 59701
All rights reserved by publisher
This publication has been endorsed by the Montana Tavern Association
$1,551,000 from $1,499,000;
• Gallatin, up 4 percent to
$792,000 from $761,000;
• Lewis and Clark, up 4 percent
to $1,078,000 from $1,037,000;
• Missoula, up 1.4 percent to
$1,390,000 from $1,371,000;
• Yellowstone, down .1 percent
to $2,916,000 from $2,920,000;
• Silver Bow, down 4 percent
to $782,000 from $815,000.
The growth recorded in
Flathead and Missoula is a good
sign for the state’s northwest
region, which has been slow to
recover from the economic downturn. Ravalli County (county seat –
Hamilton) also showed a significant increase, climbing 10.3 percent to $362,000 from $328,000.
Some eastern counties in the
oil-rich Bakken region showed
renewed strength after following
off some in the previous two quarters. Dawson County (county seat
– Glendive) jumped 16.9 percent
to $221,000 from $189,000, while
Richland (county seat – Sidney)
moved up 7.0 percent to $504,000
from $471,000 last year.
Custer County (county seat –
Miles City) edged up 1.8 percent
to $280,000 from $275,000, but
Roosevelt (county seat – Wolf
Point) fell a bit, about .4 percent,
to $426,000 from $427,000.
Fourth quarter results for other
larger counties across the state
• Hill (county seat – Havre),
down 5.1 percent to $270,000 from
• Park (county seat –
Livingston), up 2.9 percent to
$209,000 from $201,000;
• And Lincoln (county seat –
Libby), down 5.1 percent to
$290,000 from $306,000.
Overall, 35 counties enjoyed
revenue growth, while 21 showed
Please see the accompanying
tables for gaming revenue specifics
on other counties and cities.
Montana Tavern Times – 7
Montana Tavern Times – 8
from Page 1
vide “more modern play,” but with
the “traditional Royal Touch feel
that players like so much.”
The four new reel games are
the first half of the upgrade that
later will provide two new keno
games and two new poker games,
Michalies said, hopefully by the
end of the year.
“We’ll show what we have” at
the Montana Tavern Association
convention in Bozeman in
September, he added.
Michalies said the company is
looking at new cabinets, as well.
In the meantime, Summit will
continue to “foster personal relationships” with its customers,
Michalies thanked Summit’s
“dedicated players” for sticking
with Summit the last several years
as it dealt with problems created
by its parent company, GameTech
Summit Gaming through 2012
claimed about a third of the market
share in Montana, with about 5,000
machines. However, Reno-based
GameTech, struggling with debt
and poor management, was hindering Summit’s research and development efforts that kept it from
developing new games and
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machines. Customers were growing restless, as games and
machines became stale, or even
obsolete in some cases.
GameTech filed for bankruptcy
in July 2012 in order to restructure
about $16 million in debt. Then in
August 2012, FortuNet, one of the
nation’s largest electronic bingo
manufacturers and distributors,
offered an undisclosed bid for
GameTech’s assets. The U.S.
Bankruptcy Court in Delaware
accepted the bid, and the sale went
final in October 2012.
News of GameTech’s bankruptcy and subsequent purchase
sparked some concern among state
industry representatives, who wondered what the actions would mean
to the operators of all those
Summit machines, especially the
service and maintenance of those
However, Michalies said, the
company never stopped servicing
“Machine service kept us
going,” he said. “Our service
department is still going strong.”
And now the company is back
into research and development, and
bringing new games to the market.
“Software development takes
time,” Michalies said. “But we’re
returning to a competitive level.”
“We’ve got lots of exciting
Montana Tavern Times – 9
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Montana Tavern Times – 13
Suit over watered-down beer dismissed
By Paul Vang
Montana Tavern Times
An Ohio federal judge, Donald
C. Nugent, threw out a multidistrict lawsuit against AnheuserBusch that accused the brewing
company of watering down its
According to the Law 360
report, Judge Nugent determined
that the Federal Alcohol
Administration Act allows a tolerance of 0.3 percent, either above or
below the stated percentage of
alcohol on the label, and that the
eight states in which the class
actions were filed either explicitly
or implicitly support the federal
“There is no allegation in the
complaint that the alleged mislabeling of alcohol content in
Anheuser-Busch products has ever
exceeded the tolerance amount of
0.3 percent,” Judge Nugent noted.
The plaintiffs in the case had
alleged that a number of A-B products, such as Budweiser, Bud Ice,
Bud Light Platinum, Michelob, and
others, had lower-than-advertised
Two years ago, the state of
Washington privatized the liquor
business, from distributors down to
retailers, following a public referendum backed by Costco and other
big box retailers.
My Northwest, an online news
service of KIRO radio in Seattle,
came to some general conclusions
about the big change after two
years of experience.
First of all, it’s definitely easier
to get liquor. Four times as many
stores are selling spirits today compared to before privatization.
Overall, statewide sales are up by
It’s more expensive than it was
before. The Bellingham Herald
reported the average price per bottle is about three dollars higher
than when the state was running
There are also indications that
alcohol-abuse problems are
increasing. In King County
(Seattle), based on prior statistics,
about 10,000 alcohol-related emergency room visits would have been
the norm between June 2012 and
September 2013. However, the
county experienced about 5,500
more emergency room visits than
anticipated during that period.
The State Department of
Health researcher who looked into
the situation cautioned that there
wasn’t enough information to say
that privatization was responsible
for the increase in ER traffic, but
felt it was worth tracking.
Prior to the big change, critics
of privatization predicted that it
would make it easier for minors to
get their hands on liquor.
The researcher from the State
Department of Health said there
wasn’t any data to support that
teen alcohol use was up, though
surveys indicate that positive views
of alcohol use were up.
Compliance checks indicate that
sales to minors haven’t significantly changed since privatization.
Bourbon and whiskey sales are
experiencing a worldwide boom,
according to a USA Today report,
leading to speculation of a possible
shortage of the American
whiskeys, especially Tennessee
According to David Ozgo,
chief economist for the Distilled
Spirits Council (DISCUS), sales
rose 10.2 percent in 2013.
“We have seen an explosion
internationally,” Ozgo said, citing
that exports of bourbon and
Tennessee whiskey exceeded $1
billion last year, up from $400 million a decade ago.
Lower tariffs in some markets,
including China, Australia and
South Korea, have opened the door
to American whiskey products.
Tennessee whiskeys, such as Jack
Daniels (Brown-Forman) and
George Dickel (Diageo) have been
leading the whiskey market. In
fact, gains in whiskey sales are
outpacing production by a two-toone margin.
Along this line, the Wall Street
Journal reported that BrownForman’s earnings for the quarter
ending April 30 were up 17 percent, based on higher sales and
According to a separate article
in the Herald-Leader of Lexington,
Kentucky, Diageo, the Londonbased distilling giant, announced
plans to build a new distillery in
Shelby County, Kentucky.
The distillery will have a
capacity of 1.8 million proof gallons, or 750,000 9-liter cases. In
addition, the company would build
six barrel-storage warehouses on
Until now, Diageo hasn’t
owned an active distillery in
Kentucky, though it has owned the
Sitzel-Weller distillery in
Louisville, which is being developed into a tourist attraction.
Diageo also markets Bulleit bourbon and rye whiskeys.
The Diageo proposal still has
to get approval from local government.
No Oregon privatization
Backers of an initiative to put a
liquor privatization measure on the
November ballot have dropped
their efforts – for the time being,
according to Oregon Live, the
online service of The Oregonian.
Backers of the change had two
possible proposals to put on the
ballot, one of which was stuck in
the state’s Supreme Court over disputes in the wording of the proposal. A second, less-preferred measure, was in the signature-gathering
process, but privatization backers,
calling themselves Oregonians for
Competition, decided that they preferred the stuck measure, so they
elected to step away from the
process for this year.
The group continues plans to
push for privatization during the
2015 legislative session, or if that
fails, to try again for the 2016 ballot.
On the other hand, a
spokesperson for the Oregon Beer
& Wine Distributors Association
said the news was welcome and
“not a surprise—this was a solution in search of a problem to benefit big grocers—and with it over
we can turn our attention back to
creating economic opportunities
that help our craft distillers, brewers and wine growers continue to
grow and succeed.”
Craft brew build-up
SABMiller, the London-based
brewer and world’s second largest
brewing company, is increasing
efforts to build up its share of the
U.S. premium beer market, where,
according to a Financial Times
report, it has been lagging behind
the explosion of higher-price craft
In an interview, Alan Clark,
SABMiller’s chief executive, said
that the company needs to build
their market share of premium
beers to “well north” of 20 percent,
and a big jump from the company’s current 14 percent share.
In the United States, SABMiller
markets beer through the joint ven-
ture, MillerCoors. The beer group
is putting emphasis on their “craft”
labels, such as Leinenkugel’s,
Third Shift and Blue Moon.
Clark said that the largest craft
beer in the United States, Blue
Moon Belgian White, “is ours,”
and that 25 percent of the growth
in the American craft beer industry
came from SABMiller brands.
The craft brewers’ trade association, the Brewers Association,
commented that the big international brewers seek to “blur the
lines between their crafty, craftlike beers and true craft beers from
today’s small and independent
While SABMiller works on
expanding sales, the real speculation, as usual, is on which company is going to try to do a takeover
of the brewing company. Usually
the speculation is that AnheuserBusch InBev, the world’s largest
beer company is getting ready to
make a move.
The Financial Times reports
that Carlos Brito, CEO of A-B
InBev has an appetite for expanding the company. A drawback,
however, would be that if A-B
InBev did acquire SABMiller, they
would likely have to sell off the
U.S. portion of the business
because of anti-monopoly laws.
A surprising new possibility
was that Diageo, the world’s
largest spirits company, but also
owner of the Guinness lines of
beers, might be interested in
SABMiller. A merger with
SABMiller would be a major deal
in the African market where
Diageo’s beers would be a strong
partner with SABMiller’s longtime
African beer brands.
At the other end of the beer
business, Forbes magazine published a feature on the sad story of
the demise of the Stroh’s brewing
company, once the nation’s third
largest brewer. Stroh’s lost its market position when Coors began distributing nationwide. At the end,
the remaining pieces of Stroh’s
were, essentially, rummage sale
Finally, returning to the
whiskey scene, Irish whiskey distiller, Jameson, part of the Pernod
Ricard distilling company, is building a new facility in County Cork,
The expansion is part of a plan
to double sales of Jameson’s to
more than 1 billion Euros by 2020.
The goal is to build a brand as big
as Jack Daniel’s, according to the
Montana Tavern Times – 14
— UPCOMING EVENTS —
Toole County Tavern Assoc. festival, Elks, Shelby
MTA Convention, GranTree, Bozeman
Gaming Industry Association, Best Bet, Helena
Gaming Advisory Council meeting, Missoula
— STANDING DATES —
2nd Tues. of month
1st & 3rd Wed. month
Second Tue. of month
1st Thurs. of month
2nd Wed. of month
2nd Wed. of month
2nd Tues. of month
1st Tues. of quarter
3rd Thurs. of month
Last Tues. of month
2nd Thurs of month
2nd Thur. of month
2nd Wed. of month
Last Wed. of month
1st Mon. of month
2nd Tues. of month
1st Tues. of month
Carbon/Stillwater TA 237-9844
Cascade Co. TA 453-9567
Central Montana TA 868-4693
Flathead Co. TA 270-8069
Hi-Line TA 265-9551
Lake Co. TA 883-2553
Lincoln Co. TA 293-4493
Miles City TA 234-3164
Missoula Co. TA 728-0030
Park County TA 222-0665
Ravalli Co. TA 821-1853
Richland Co. TA 433-4354
Silver Bow TA 494-6062
Southwest Montana TA 835-2150
Toole Co. TA 434-2442
Tri-County LBA 475-9560
Yellowstone TA 656-3991
Buying or selling
your business? I can help!
• Specializing in putting buyers and sellers
together for merger and acquisition of businesses
• Past beer and wine wholesaler in Montana and
• 22 years experience in alcohol-related businesses
• Seeking listings in Tavern, Restaurant and
“I’m looking forward to meeting many of my old-time
friends and getting to know new acquaintances. If I’m
given the opportunity to work for you, I don’t believe
you will find anyone who will work harder than I will.”
404 N. 31st Street, Suite 205
P.O. Box 7225
Billings, MT 59103-7225
Cell: 406 425-0180
E-mail: [email protected]
MTA seeks nominations
for employee award
By Paul Tash,
Montana Tavern Times
The Montana Tavern
Association's Public Relations
Committee is calling for nominations for the MTA's Worker of the
Year Award. Deadline for nominations is Friday, Aug. 22.
“The MTA Worker of the Year
Award is a prestigious honor,” said
Bobby Lincoln, head of the PR
committee, which selects the winner. “We’re really encouraging tavern owners across the state to nominate a special employee.”
The MTA asks that nominations consist of a short essay of no
more than 250 words outlining
why the nominee is an exemplary
example of a dedicated and valuable worker, how many years of
service have been rendered, what
are the employee's outside interests
and who are his or her family
members. Examples of achievement, or courage and perseverance
in the face of adversity, should be
"Quality employees are vital to
the hospitality businesses," Lincoln
said. “We hope to get some great
The award was presented for
the first time at the 2006 MTA
convention. The Montana Tavern
Times sponsors the honor, known
as the Gary Langley Memorial
Worker of the Year award. Langley
was a popular long-time editor of
the monthly trade publication.
Winners receive a specially
created plaque, adorned with a bartender's jigger and stir spoon,
along with a $100 bill. The winner
also will be featured in the postconvention edition of the Montana
The Aug. 22 deadline will
allow the committee to review
nominations and select a winner.
The winner's employer will be
notified by Aug. 31.
The PR committee urges the
employer submitting a nomination
to have the employee present at the
final convention banquet to personally accept the award if chosen.
The 2014 MTA convention will
take place in Bozeman Sept. 8-11
with the banquet Sept. 10.
Nominations should be sent to
the Montana Tavern Association,
P.O. Box 851, Helena, MT 59624.
They also can be emailed to [email protected]
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Summit, IGT, Grand Vision, Power Station
Slot tickets • Printer Paper • Printer Ribbons
Flourescent Lamps • Starters • Etc.
PO Box 1346, Whitefish, MT 59937
Business partners, life partners
Montana Tavern Times – 15
By Paul Tash
Montana Tavern Times
Kristie and Dan Horgan met
playing cards at the Turn of the
Century bar in Billings in 1993,
and though it hasn’t been all fun
and games since, they’ve both
been “all in” nurturing a healthy
marriage and growing a strong
The couple, who’ve been married for 18 years, have owned the
Winners Circle sports bar in
Billings on Grand Avenue for 16
years. Earlier this year they remodeled the entire joint, actually creating a new casino called The Vault
in the process.
“We’re very pleased,” Dan
Horgan said. “We couldn’t be happier with the way (the remodel)
His patrons seem to like the
changes, too. Business, he said, has
been strong so far this summer,
which traditionally is a slower
Both Kristie and Dan have
worked in the hospitality business
for much of their adult lives, with
Kristie on the food-service side
and Dan more on the liquor side.
A Butte native, Dan graduated
with a business degree from the
University of Montana in 1975. He
worked for Gov. Tom Judge, in
business development first and
later as a personal aide, until Ted
Schwinden defeated Judge in 1980.
The lost election resulted in a
lost job, so Dan was forced to find
employment elsewhere, including
as a bill collector. It wasn’t the best
“I was put in the hospital in
San Antonio trying to collect a
bill,” he said with a laugh. “I started looking for something else to
He began selling beer for
Coors and other distributors for a
time, before accepting an offer to
manage the Turn of the Century
bar in the late ‘80s.
The bar business “runs in the
family,” Dan added. His uncle Ed
owned the Lost Weekend bar and
later the U & I bar in Uptown
A Billings native, Kristie started working in high school.
“My first job was at Le
Captain’s in the mall,” she said of
the ice cream and burger joint now
Paul Tash photos
DAN AND KRISTIE Horgan
stand behind a new bar in
their new casino called The
Vault, with one of its realistic
murals in the background. At
right is the front of the building that faces Grand Avenue.
The Lyndon Pomeroy sculpture of a football player
wears number 41, the number Kristie’s father, Joe
Keating, wore as a member
of Billings Central’s first 11man football team in 1948.
She later worked at several
other restaurants, including CJs
and Cellar 301.
Kristie met Dan in 1993 at the
Turn of the Century, but not by
accident. The bar manager had his
eye on her.
“It was kind of a blind date,”
she said. “Dan told a bartender if I
ever came in again to hook us up,
and he’d give him a raise.”
“I went in to play cards, and he
was a card player.”
Dan must have played his hand
right – the two married four years
later. They purchased the Winners
Circle from Mark Ehli a year after
that in 1998.
Thriving sports bar
Though the new casino has
drawn deserved attention, the
Horgans emphasized that the
Winners Circle is still thriving as
one of Billings’ best sports bars.
The extensive remodel included
adding some space to the tavern by
removing a wall. In addition, the
Winners Circle boasts a new interior color and several new flat
screen TVs, among other improvements.
“We can’t wait until football
season,” Dan said. “That’s our
motto – all sports all the time.”
Even the recent World Cup
soccer tournament in Brazil was a
big hit, Dan said.
“Somebody has to explain offsides to me,” he added with a
The Winners Circle is known
as a UM Grizzly bar, a fact UM
grad Dan embraces.
They are currently looking for
someone to lease the kitchen.
Kristie has been operating it, but
after 16 years she’s ready to relinquish that responsibility.
The Horgans designed the new
casino using tavern space previously dedicated to gaming machines.
They built a wall to separate casino
from tavern, with the two businesses accessible to each other through
a glass door.
A sparkling new bar and gorgeous new bathrooms were built in
the casino to specifically accommodate players.
“Casino players will have their
own bathrooms and bar,” Dan said.
Patrons old and new will notice
new specially designed murals that
play to The Vault theme that create
a great feel in the space. The large
mural behind the bar shows off a
realistic 3-D quality that makes
players feel like they’re actually in
An operator who has always
owned his own machines in the
past, Horgan said he’s gone with a
vendor, Century Gaming, for the
And he’s glad he did.
“They’ve been great to work
with,” he said, “and we can offer
Horgan also appreciates
Century’s “i-Rewards” player
“The players love it,” he said.
Work and adapt
After 16 years, the Horgans
have learned a thing or two about
(Continued on next page)
Montana Tavern Times – 16
(Continued from previous page)
the tavern business, but they’ve
had their “ups and downs,” Kristie
“We didn’t know what to
expect,” she said, when the couple
first decided to buy the Winner’s
Circle. “We’ve had to continually
“You got to work it,” Dan
added. “You can’t be an absentee
The couple said one of their
keys to success is finding and
properly training good employees.
“We have a great staff,” Kristie
said. “We have a mutual respect
for each other. Some of our
employees have been with us from
As is the case with many longtime tavern owners, the Horgans
said the relationships they’ve built
with patrons and others in the business are very important to them.
“I’ve met a lot of great people,” Dan said. “When I get out,
I’m going to miss the people.”
For now, the two are looking
forward to running the Winners
Circle and The Vault with the same
dedication they’ve shown in the
last 16 years.
“Without Kristie, this wouldn’t
go,” Dan said.
Working with your spouse has
its special challenges, but the
Horgans work them out.
“You respect each other, and
give each other some space,” Dan
“We each have our own job
descriptions,” he added. “We try
not to infringe on each other.”
Though they didn’t have children together, Kristie took Dan’s
son and daughter from a previous
marriage “under her wing,” he said.
“She’s been like a second mom
It’s been quite a ride since the
Horgans’ first poker game 24 years
ago. But that first blind date still
provides good memories.
“I beat him in cards,” Kristie
said with a laugh.
• Karoake 7 nights a week 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
• Large Variety Poker & Keno Machines
Queen of Hearts
• Packaged Liquor To-Go
• Great Drink Prices
Best Live Poker Action in Town
in the Queen of Hearts Card Room.
101 North 28th Street • Billings, Montana • 406-259-0010
Montana Tavern Times – 17
MILODRAGOVICH, DALE, STEINBRENNER
Liquor License Transfers, Gaming Applications,
Real Estate, Business Sales, and Estate Planning
GERALD W. STEINBRENNER
Fax (406) 549-7077
E-Mail: [email protected]
P.O. Box 4947
620 High Park Way
Missoula MT 59806-4947
Join the MTA!
Regular Membership (for Licensees Only)
$100 Plus Keno & Poker Machines @ $15 Each
Optional Gold Star ($100 extra)
Associate Membership (non Licensees Only)
Type of Business:
Individual Firms $100.00 (Gold Star $200.00)
Minor Distributor $250.00 (Gold Star $500.00)
Major Distributor $500.00 (Gold Star $1000.00)
Mail to: MTA, P.O. Box 851, Helena, MT 59624
Phone (406) 442-5040 [email protected]
St. # (if different from above)
Name of Licensee
MT Retail Number
Fed. Id Number____________________________
Check enclosed for $ ___________________________________________
Credit card charge for $ ___________________________________________________
COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING PAYMENT INFORMATION:
____ Master Card ______ Visa_____Discover Card
(Plus 3% Convenience Fee )
_____ American Express
(Plus 5% convenience fee)
Credit Card # ____________________ Exp. Date______Card Code______
Cardholders Name (Please Print) __________________________________________
City ________________________State ________Zip_________________
Montana Tavern Times – 18
MTT • Buy • Sell •Trade
BUSINESSES FOR SALE
BUSINESSES FOR SALE
Mother Lode Casino, Restaurant & Lounge – Thompson Falls
BEST BUY TO COME AROUND IN A LONG TIME! PRICE
JUST REDUCED BY $325,000. Owners are in their late 70s
and want to retire. Casino, restaurant and lounge right on Main
Street. WHAT A REAL MONEY MAKER! Well established with
many years of business. A full beverage liquor license and a
gaming license with maximum number 20 owned gaming
machines. Complete restaurant with great seating. Property has
2 buildings that connect together. Building 1 has a second floor
with an apartment that includes a living room, kitchen, bedroom
and bathroom. Reduced from $875,000. THIS IS A GREAT
BUY AT $550,000. Lyle Dunham, agent, 406 425-0180.
Muzzleloader Café, Powder Horn Bar and Casino, one of Billings most popular restaurants, Meals equal Quality, Quantity and Price world famous hand
breaded chicken fried steak. Popular casino and bar. Great location, 2.38
acres, 8,000-plus sq ft building built new in 2007. Owners wishing to retire.
Check This Out!
Long-established west-end full service restaurant and casino, AAA location,
very favorable lease, long-time loyal customer base, B&W, includes gaming
machines, turn key $750,000.
Only Game in Town
Water Hole Saloon, Reed Point, Mt. Home of world famous Sheep Drive.
Serves as gathering place for morning coffee and after work problem solving
over your favorite choice of wisdom-enhancing beverage. Includes land,
building, FF&E, all-beverage liquor license. After 38 years owners wishing
to move on. $125,500.
West-end Casino, King Ave and Shiloh Road
Fastest growth of commercial and investment property in Billings. 1,000-plus
new apartments and 282 on drawing board and under construction. Features
4,284 sq. ft. building, land, FF&E, including B/W. Check it out. $1,650,000.
Not a Mistake (under contract)
Business only featuring all-beverage license, FF&E, casino w/small food
operation. Includes state-of-the-art outdoor sign with reader board. Performs
very well. $695,000. Land and building available.
And investment property on Grand Avenue. $1,200,000.
Casino, Restaurant, Bar
Land, building, all-beverage license, restaurant leased to prominent restaurant
operator, high traffic location. Business doing very well. $1,100,000.
Rare Find (under contract)
Fun, friendly, popular neighborhood bar. Located on main Billings main
artery. Great lease, all beverage, pencils very well! $750,000.
- Billings all-beverage license w/furniture fixtures and equipment
$650,000. (under contract)
- Billings cabaret restaurant beer and wine seating 61 to 100.
Bob Pulley, Real Estate Broker, 406-670-7947
BUSINESSES FOR SALE
SPRING CREEK BAR,
RESTAURANT AND RV PARK
This is a year-round establishment
located on ten treed acres in the Wolf
Mountains near the Sarpy Creek
Mine. Sale includes liquor license,
furniture, fixtures and equipment
along with two rental units. A fourbedroom residence for owner or
manager is included. Health forces
sale. $500,000. Call 406-342-5414.
Just $4.50 per line
BUSINESSES FOR SALE
The Hideout Bar & Restaurant
Great food, river views in Hamilton,
MT. All-beverage liquor license.
Casino ready. Price cut to $499K.
Bob Pauley, broker. 406-369-0210
City of Billings Beer and Wine
License with gaming (PENDING).
This license is ready to transfer!
Billings Bar, Lounge, Casino,
Liquor Store. Includes All
Beverage License, 1.6 acres Land,
3,745 sf building. Three income
streams – excellent cash flow!
City of Billings Caberet License
Chuck Platt 406-861-8000
RE/MAX of Billings
FULL MOON SALOON
Where everybody knows your name.
Full liquor, gaming, catering, café and
bingo licenses. A whole lot of fun!
Price reduced! Call Craig Siphers,
Established bar with full liquor
& gaming license in Great Falls.
· Complete turnkey operation;
· Newly remodeled building;
· New bar & furniture;
· New Aloha P.O.S. System;
· Surveillance camera system.
$395,000. Call (907) 252-6493
Bar, casino, & restaurant
in Thompson Falls, MT. $550,000.
Average NET profit of $137,000 over
the last 5 years, even after manager
paid! Health forces sale.
Bennett Realty, 406-544 4641
Montana Tavern Times – 19
MTT • Buy • Sell •Trade
BUSINESSES FOR SALE
BUSINESSES FOR SALE
BUSINESSES FOR SALE
Great business for sale
in Livingston, Montana
Bar/Liquor Store combination,
includes kitchen! One of the top
liquor-selling businesses in the state!
Sale includes liquor license, real
estate and equipment! Great income
producing property ...
Call PEDE at (406) 570-1541
or [email protected]
Create your concept ...
6,000 sf building holds 266 people.
Includes all beverage liquor license,
furniture, fixtures and equipment.
Located minutes from Malmstrom
AFB. The building is a landmark to
the local community. $900,000
Tracy Johnson, Broker
Dahlquist REALTORS 406-788-0443
Texas Club in Miles City
Well established bar located on historic Main Street, Miles City,
MT. Sale includes all fixtures, furniture, equipment, real property
and floating all-beverage liquor license. Structure is about 2,750
sq. ft. and includes dance floor, darts, TVs, and a partial basement. Asking $425,000. Melynda Hould, 406-853-6680. Bryan
Holmen, 406-853-0576. www.milescityproperty.com
BAR, RESTAURANT, CASINO
IN GREAT FALLS
22,000 SF building, 2.6 paved acres,
2 complete bars, dance floor. Best
view in Great Falls, at I-15 interchange adjacent to International airport. Additional 6 acres available. All
beverage license available. Excellent,
proven income. 3 million replacement
cost. $800,000. 406-781-9111.
Montana agency liquor store for sale
in Cut Bank. Serious inquiries only.
BEN’S ARENA BAR & CASINO
Deer Lodge. Full liquor license with
gaming, plus inventory. Great location. Selling due to health. $450,000.
The Grand Bar and Grill
Located on Hwy 2 in the middle of Chester, Montana. This
established business has a full liquor license, grill with separate
dining area, live and machine gaming, established clientele,
and an attached 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment.
Lot size: 12,600 sq ft. Age: 1970 – remodeled in 2001.
$320,000. Call Bootegger Realty, (406) 759-5560.
Cubs Den Bar, Monarch, MT
Restaurant, 14-unit motel with pool
and hot tub, convenience store with
gas pump, 6 new gaming machines
and 3 bedroom full residence lower
level. One of only two bar, restaurants
and motels between Belt and Forest
Green. A great opportunity in a busy
recreational area. Reduced for fast
sale at $650,000. Call Dick Seim,
ReMax of Great Falls. 406-799-0307
THE OLD SALOON AND
LIVERY STABLE STEAK HOUSE
Historical Bar/Restaurant with
Liquor/Gaming license, Real Estate
and FF&E located 20 miles from the
North entrance to Yellowstone Park.
sits on 1.2 acres. Price reduced to
$550,000. Possible owner financing.
Call Dave Everett, 406-600-0647.
Bar, restaurant and casino in Bakken
oil field. Well established clientele,
full-beverage license with catering
endorsement, great revenue. Great
central location. Established in 1955.
Serious inquiries only. Call Mike or
Randy Severson, 406-482-4566.
Just $4.50 per line
LICENSES FOR SALE
All beverage floatable liquor license.
Will sell with bar, with gaming or separately. 406-323-2347.
Missoula city all-beverage liquor
license. Motivated seller. 406-370-0146.
Billings all beverage liquor license
with gaming. $700,000. Seller may
finance $500,000 over 20 years OAC.
Billings beer and wine license
with gaming. Price negotiable.
Bob Pulley, Real Estate Broker,
All-beverage floating liquor license.
55K OBO. 406-490-3706.
Full-beverage liquor license without
gambling. 495K. Serious inquiries
All-beverage liquor license for sale in
Saco, MT. For information contact
Brittnee Zanto-DeLaRosa with Bear
Paw Development Corporation, 406292-9226 or [email protected]
Kalispell All-Beverage Liquor License
No. 07-901-2541-001 for sale. Call
Mike Nissen, 406-752-4050.
EQUIPMENT TO BUY, SELL
Blodgett pizza ovens with hood,
stainless steel 3 compartment sink,
griddle, True Beer cooler, and more.
406-599-6909. Located in Anaconda.
Beveridge Air 3 tap beer cooler. $750
2007 Model 2400GH Broaster
Great condition, clean. Gas heat,
single phase, 120 volts, 7 amps.
$10,000. Call Kelly Heiser, 406-8910239 or 406-778-2001.
Montana Tavern Times – 20