Liquor license available in Columbia Falls

Print Article

An all-beverage liquor license is still available in Columbia Falls, the Department of Revenue announced Monday.

Bids for the “floater license” will be accepted from now until midnight March 18.

The floater license allows a winning bidder to purchase, subject to department approval, an existing all-beverage license from an area that is above its quota for that license and move it into their area, which is below quota.

The license availability was first announced last May. An entity submitted a bid back then, but did not complete the application process.

The all beverage license is not inexpensive. It has a minimum bid of $198,670. The license allows the successful bidder to purchase an existing all-beverage license in an area that is over its quota limit. Once approved by the department, the successful bidder may transfer that license to Columbia Falls.

In other words, the winning bidder still has to go out and find a business willing to sell their license.

The minimum bid is set at 75 percent of the market value of the similar licenses in the area.

The all-beverage license was announced with an additional beer and wine license for the city last year.

The new licenses became available after Senate Bill 5 was passed in 2017, noted DOR spokesman Sanjay Talwani.

A winning bid does not guarantee a license, either. A person or business must still go through the department’s vetting process and meet all the legal requirements, Talwani noted. SB5 also requires that the winning bidder set up a new business within a year of obtaining the license, unless the business gets an extension from the department.

Prior to the passage of SB5, Columbia Falls and Whitefish were considered one area and the quotas were set based on that. Licenses were also awarded via a lottery.

But SB5 did away with the lottery and replaced it with a bidding system, generating more revenue for the state. It also, in effect, made Columbia Falls eligible for more licenses.

The beer and wine license that was put up for bid last year received no bids and will be put up again at a later date, Talwani said.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Which way West Glacier?

February 19, 2020 at 8:52 am | Hungry Horse News When it comes to a vision for West Glacier, many folks endorse preserving the landscape and way of life that makes the community one of the most special places on the planet. They realize just how lu...


Read More

Ruis project will transform Nucleus Avenue

February 19, 2020 at 7:17 am | Hungry Horse News Columbia Falls developer Mick Ruis has formally submitted plans for a project that promises to transform downtown. Ruis plans to build two new buildings on 1.5 acres of land in the city center. The ...


Read More

Float permits last resort official says

February 19, 2020 at 7:16 am | Lake County Leader A Forest Service official said a permit system for floating the North Fork of the Flathead would be the last resort in efforts to manage increasing recreation on the river. Glacier View/Hungry Horse...


Read More

The Blotter: Store owner nabs shoplifter

February 19, 2020 at 7:08 am | Lake County Leader Tuesday, Feb. 11 A store owner got into a tussle with a shoplifter, wrestling the suspect to the ground. Merchandise was retrieved. A pitbull bit a woman in the face. Wednesday, Feb. 12 A man a...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2020 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy