The Flathead is known for natural beauty and it's natural products like cherries and huckleberries,but local distilleries are starting to bloom a garden of their own. They use locally grown alpine herbs like juniper and wormwood to create absinthe, gin, and whiskey.
"A lot of whiskey takes a lot of character from where it's made," said Glacier Distilling's Nick Lee, "This is just a unique and beautiful climate that just expresses itself in the whiskey."
Joe and Julie Legate of Ridge Distillery combined their love of classic cocktails and tea leaves with a lucky find in their very own backyard.
"We became friends with other microdistillers and they found out we naturally had the alpine herbs that grow," said Julie, "they encouraged us and said 'Why aren't you doing this yourself? You can do this."
Over in Bad Rock Canyon, Coram's Glacier Distilling started when owner Nick Lee and friends gathered around a table one winter and discussed some rather unusual things.
"[We were] drinking other people's whiskey, contemplating life in the canyon here and decided we should reinvigorate the old moonshining tradition. We need to be self sufficient out here just in case!" he said.
Both distilleries have their own unique brand of spirits, but what unites them is the passion behind each bottle they fill and label.
"As soon as that first drop came off the still it was exciting," said Nick, "and it's still been an equally exciting time when we charge up the still."
"It's like cooking food only we're cooking spirits," explained Julie, "it's soul fulfilling."
Glacier distributes only in and around Western Montana, but Ridge's gin and absinthe can be found in the Mid-Atlantic, California, and Montana. Their work is winning awards too, something that both distilleries are proud of.
"People love to see that, it makes us feel good," said Julie.
Nick agrees, "We love tasting what everyone else is making, we're inspired by that, too."
The future for microdistilleries across Montana is as strong as the cocktails they create, and Ridge and Glacier are happy to be along for the ride.
"We started as a small craft distiller and we're going to stay that way and provide that option for a local spirit for people that come and visit the area," said Nick.
"When we first started out we were the fifth licensed, fourth operating microdistillery," explained Julie, "And it's boomed ever since then. As long as everybody makes good spirits it's a win-win all the way around."
Sentiments that both the Legates, Nick, and other Flathead distillers can get behind.
"Stay local, eat local, drink local," concluded Nick.