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2.5 YEARS LATER- Update…

I accidentally opened our blog page for the first time since we opened the brewery. Whew- a blast from the past!

It’s been two and a half years since we opened! How things have changed for us in that short amount of time.

OK- the brewery…

Bandit Brewing Co. has grown faster and farther than I ever thought. We started with a small 40 gallon brewing system and I upgraded within 6 months to a 3bbl brewing system (93 gallons). I just ordered tanks for a 5bbl brewing system (155 gallons). We initially had 4 plastic fermenters that were 110 gallons, by our first summer I added 4 more. Last November we ordered and installed 5 new stainless 10bbl fermenters (310 gallons) and a 10bbl brite tank for carbonating beer.

We started distributing beer to bars and restaurants and we currently have 7 accounts but I could double that if I felt I could maintain the quality of the beer.

you can follow us on facebook at:

I have 2 full time employees who are super. We’re making beer as fast as I can to keep up in the summer time.

We would like to add craft distilling to the mix but we have our hands full right now with the beer.

We have a five year plan to expand and open a production facility based on the popular beers from this “experimental brewery”.

The Fam…

Emma is now NINE and Charley SEVEN (holy smokes). They are both beautiful, healthy, and smart cookies. Hil started homeschooling last fall because of the call of our gypsy ways. She took the kids on a road trip of the Oregon Coast and we’re working our way back to a boat and Mexico (eventually).

Emma is turning out to be a great swimmer! She’s on the local swim team and doing great. She was in ballet and dance but the swimming thing is sticking.

Charley is our little gymnast. Wow- she takes after Hil obviously. She just started taking voice lessons and is enjoying that.

Hil is busy. It’s a lot of driving when you live in a little town and all the kids activities are between 17 miles and 77 miles away.

I’m getting a little stir crazy being away from the boat and Mexico for two years now. I went and did a stupid thing.

I ran for Mayor of our little town- and won.

I’m a year and half into my two year term and decided to run for re-election. Local politics is vicious! I feel I’m contributing. That’s what counts in the end.

The Bitter Root valley is famous for fly fishing, floating, hunting, skiing, and all sorts of outdoor activities. There is no shortage of fun things to do (if I could ever leave the brewery). We picked up a 5th wheel camper and enjoy camping as often as we can get away.

The boat….

Ironically, some lovely friends of ours from Mexico just called today and confirmed they want to buy Whiskey Charlie! It will be moving on to a wonderful family who plan on spending the rest of their retirement years living on Whiskey Charlie in the Sea of Cortez.

Now, I can start saving up for that Lagoon 380 I’ve had my eye on….

We’re still as crazy and hard working as ever. When one door closes- another opens. I miss my liveaboard lifestyle and somehow got “hooked” into this land living but I have high hopes I can carve out two months a year (eventually) to get back on the water before we retire and then…back full time whenever and whatever the word “retire” means.

I’m so busy these days I can’t see straight. We opened a fun little part time brewery and now it’s a real business with payroll, bookkeepers, accountants, employees, and all those pesky govermental fees and taxes.

We still run Young Guns Entertainment. In fact, I’m planning a major upgrade this fall to keep Young Guns fresh. Our plan is keep Young Guns rolling until the girls are old enough to take over. Young Guns is the perfect business to train the kids on being self employed and to embrace the crazy entreprenurial ways.

We have wonderful friends and still stay in contact with many of our boat friends.

Who knows what strange winds that may blow? It’s hard to keep up with today much less predicting the future for JCMcDowell and the family unit.

All I know is it’s a wild ride and I have to hold on tight.

All our best,

You know an ICE COLD draft beer in Mexico is a very affordable price of approximately $1.25! Click Here to Buy Us a Beer.

Bandit Brewing Co. is OPEN for business!

No we don’t take American Express.

WHEW! It was four LONG months of work to Black Friday’s opening. We scraped the bottom of the financial barrel to get open. Now we start a new focus and phase with the tasting room officially open five days a week, eight hours a day.

The soft opening went [read more by clicking on title]

The Hop Head is Alive. Long Live the Hop Head.


Yeeha! The officially sanctioned Bandit Brewing Co. Logo.

I’m assembly (making) brewery equipment! Very exciting to be moving away from construction of the building to construction of the brewery itself. This week we are wrapping plumbing (one slow fixture per day it seems) and getting the walk-in cooler up and running.

I did [read more by clicking on title]

Bandit Brewing Co APPROVED by FEDs

I received our approval email this morning!

Submitted July 14 and approved by October 6. Today is also Emma’s BIRTHDAY! I now have a legal brewery and a 7 year old! What a fun coincidence!

We received our ‘provisional’ state approval last week contingent on the FED approval and a few other things.

I have [read more by clicking on title]

WARNING- Don’t try this at home…

I have this (unfounded) belief that you can overcome the mediocrity of the world by being present and gently nudging the concerned parties to meet your specific level of excellence- or at least a degree of acceptablence (maybe that should be a new word). The cost for those that wish to change the course of [read more by clicking on title]

Bandit Brewery Construction Begins

So our summer work is done. I’ve been back in Darby, MT for a week now.

I very smartly started ALL our permits before we hit the road for about 6 weeks and while stressful to get everything ready in such a short time- We are getting close to be a legal brewery! Watch out [read more by clicking on title]

The Chaos of Creativity or My excuse for not cleaning my desk

A long title, I know.

Things are a little WACKADOODLE here (no relationship to WACK-A-MOLE or POODLES and god forbid that someone genetically engineers a hybrid of those two! N.B.- No poodles were harmed in this blog post.). I built a new Young Guns Wild West Fun Park that is TOTALLY AWESOME… when it gets [read more by clicking on title]

Bandit Brewing Co., Inc. is in process…

It’s been a busy, stressful, crazy week.

On Monday I submitted our Federal Application for Brewer’s Permit with the TTB. I also submitted the Ravalli County Food License Application and State of Montana Brewery License Application all at the same time.

The list of items to submit was substantial and overwhelming. I hired a local [read more by clicking on title]

We’re at the Tipping Point- right over the mental edge

Hil and I are returning from our second fair this season. In a week we each separately hit the road for a solid month. That’s it- done. A years income complete.

Ughh, that’s what’s stressing me out!

We are shooting to submit all the applications for the microbrewery before we hit the road to give [read more by clicking on title]

Mushy Brain Syndrome

My brain hurts.

Mexico was great. We basically did as little as possible (work wise) for almost ten weeks. We drank a lot of beer,ate a lot of fish tacos, played a lot of music, and sailed. We didn’t go far from San Carlos this year. I didn’t want to have to rush to leave [read more by clicking on title]