Alcohol License Competitive Bidding Postponed

The Montana Department of Revenue is postponing the competitive bid process for a Bozeman beer license and a Belgrade all-beverage license that was scheduled to close at midnight on Thursday, March 8.

The department based its decision to postpone bidding on feedback from the Montana Legislative Economic Affairs Interim Committee regarding administrative rules.

Anyone who has submitted a bid for one of the alcohol licenses and paid the processing fee will be refunded the fee. Bidders will need to resubmit a bid when the department offers the licenses later, if they want their bid to be included.

The department has drafted administrative rules and a rules public hearing is scheduled for April 9. Once the rules are adopted in early May, the department will reschedule the competitive bid process for these licenses.

You can download a copy of the Economic Affairs Interim Committee Letter (PDF, 324 KB), or read the text of the letter below.

A Rule Hearing on Quota Areas and the Competitive Bidding Process is scheduled for April 9, 2018.

Economic Affairs Interim Committee Letter

Dear Director Kadas:

The Economic Affairs Interim Committee of the Montana Legislature has voted to send a letter to the Department of Revenue voicing concerns about the process being used to implement Senate Bill No. 5 from the 2017 Special Session.

The committee’s concerns include the lack of rulemaking and a public comment period before the department opened the auction for new liquor and beer and wine licenses in the Bozeman and Belgrade areas. The committee also heard that the department had decided that licenses could be auctioned in fiscal years, when the bill did not specify a fiscal year and, in fact. 1-1-301, MCA, indicates that if a fiscal year is not specified then the term “year” means “calendar year.”

The committee appreciated testimony provided to the committee by the Department staff stating on the record that none of the licenses would include gaming, which had been another concern.

The committee requests that no license be issued until the rules are released and adopted after the public has the opportunity to comment. There is concern that failure to follow the rulemaking process could invalidate the auction.


Sen. Gordan Vance
EAIC Presiding Officer

Rep. Nate McConnell
EAIC Vice Presiding Officer