coldsmoke

Cans for Cold Smoke beer are filled in Missoula’s Kettlehouse Brewing Co.. 

Fans of Cold Smoke beer should soon be able to pick up cans of the Missoula-based Scotch ale in Billings stores and bars.

Billings-based Briggs Distributing announced Thursday that it has signed a partnership with Kettlehouse Brewing Co., which makes Cold Smoke and other beers, to distribute in a seven-county region surrounding Yellowstone this spring.

Briggs officials said they haven’t determined when beers will roll out in specific locations, but consumers should look for Kettlehouse products on the shelves in March.

“Craft beer drinkers have waited a long time to buy Kettlehouse beers in Billings, and we are thrilled that we have the opportunity to grow the brand in our area," Pete Borowick, Briggs’ general sales manager, said in a news release.

Briggs has about 550 accounts in Yellowstone, Musselshell, Golden Valley, Wheatland, Stillwater, Carbon and Bighorn counties, spokeswoman Laura Rottrup said.

Cold Smoke is the Kettlehouse’s biggest name and award winner, named after the fresh powder of Montana ski slopes following a snowfall. The brewery also makes Double Haul IPA, Eddy Out Pale Ale and other beers.

Kettlehouse Brewing is a pioneer of modern Montana brewing, launched in 1995 by Tim O’Leary and Suzy Rizza. It’s the first modern Montana brewery to start canning and produces more than 15,000 barrels of craft beer annually from two Missoula facilities.

Briggs is one of Billings’ largest family-owned beverage distributors with a selection of 85 domestic, craft and imported beers, 300 wines and non-alcoholic beverages.

The company has recently focused efforts to grow its craft beer distribution, which is the fastest growing segment of the beer market. Billings has seven breweries.

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Business reporter for The Billings Gazette.