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OUR STORY

Busted Knuckle Brewery was featured on PBS's "Backroads of Montana" in 2017. Click the link to get our story as well as see all the fun we have making the beer and in the tap room!

 We are honored to have been featured in the Great Falls Tribune and the Billings Gazette.

Read on to see what they had to say..... 

GLASGOW – After 30 years fixing cars, Ben Boreson decided to use his talents and his garage for something new. He remodeled it into Busted Knuckle Brewery.  The shop-turned-brewery still has the large garage doors. The theme carries on with tables Boreson made from radiators. Flights come on license plates. The beers carry names such as Radiator Dip Pale Ale and Rusted

By Kristen Inbody kinbody@greatfallstribune.com

Published 2:21 p.m. MT Jan. 28, 2016 |

 Updated 2:53 p.m. MT June 1, 2016

Nut Amber Ale, the brewery’s most popular offering.  “Especially guys do get into the theme, but women like it, too,” Boreson said.

Boreson, with wife, Connie, also have tied in Glasgow’s Scottish connection with historic photos and a Bonnie City Scottish Ale. “You gotta have a Scottish in Glasgow,” he said.

Boreson is soon to introduce a new IPA to his rotation. He’s pouring Blown Motor IPA now. It has a floral, citric flavor with less bitterness than a typical IPA. “It’s more about the flavor than the bitterness,” he said. “The IPAs don’t sell as well in this corner of the state. If a whole table orders IPA, they’re probably from the West Coast or Missoula.”

With the change of season, Fender Bender Blackberry Ale has given way to Pumpkin Spiced Amber Ale. He also had a popular seasonal jalapeno amber earlier. Next he’s working on a chocolate porter or stout and, for March, an Irish red ale.

By Matt Hudson mhudson@billingsgazette.com  

Jan 14, 2017

Photos by Hanna Potes, Gazette Staff

It started with a gift from his mother.

It was a home brew kit, given to Ben Boreson about seven years ago. The first beer he made was a Mexican cerveza. And the taste? Boreson said he learned one of many lessons in the brewing arts.

"Patience with beer," he said. "You need a little patience."

But every finished product begot more requests for his beers. Attendees at community events and parties were drinking his beer. And while Boreson ran his own mechanic and repair shops, an idea formed that it could be a business.

At one point he pivoted careers, and today his Busted Knuckle Brewery is the only such business in Glasgow and gaining reputation on the Hi-Line.

Boreson ran a general agriculture equipment repair shop in Opheim for years. He and his wife, Connie, raised their children in the northern Montana town. He started a radiator shop in nearby Glasgow about five years ago, after their kids grew up and moved out.

Congratulations to the 2016

Family Business Award Winners!

Six Montana Family Businesses Honored on October 7th

Six businesses received Montana Family Business Program awards at the 2016 Montana State University Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship State Farm Insurance Family Business Day, Friday, Oct. 7, at the Best Western Plus GranTree Inn in Bozeman.
 
The 2016 Family Business Day award winners are: Elliotts of Montana of Bozeman in the very small business category (fewer than 10 employees); MARS Stout of Missoula in the small business category (10-30 employees); Wild West Shirt Company of Bozeman in the medium business category (30-50 employees), General Distributing of Great Falls in the large business category (more than 50 employees); Cooper Hereford Ranch of Willow Creek in the old business category (operating at least 50 years); and Busted Knuckle Brewery of Glasgow in the new business category (operating 10 or fewer years). Congratulations to these stand out companies! 

His brewery has a seven-barrel system, and, with advice from the Havre brewers, he was well stocked before opening his business in June. He’s distributed kegs to bars around town himself, and just partnered with a distributor to take the product a bit farther afield.

The brewery also has a hand-cranked canner, so patrons can take home – or across the country as a souvenir – a quart-sized can of their favorite beer. It’s great for taking on the river or the Fort Peck Reservoir, he said.  “They were really popular at Christmas,” Boreson said. “I know some went to California, some to the East Coast.”

The brewery has helped draw travelers downtown. Boreson said he’d barely been open before he’d had customers from both coasts.  Boreson also makes a root beer for those too young or disinterested in beer. The brewery doesn’t serve food but has popcorn. Customers can bring in their own food or have pizza delivered.

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Kristen Inbody at kinbody@greatfallstribune.com. Follow her on Twitter at @GFTrib_KInbody.  Photo credit: Kristen Inbody

At one point he pivoted careers, and today his Busted Knuckle Brewery is the only such business in Glasgow and gaining reputation on the Hi-Line.

Boreson ran a general agriculture equipment repair shop in Opheim for years. He and his wife, Connie, raised their children in the northern Montana town. He started a radiator shop in nearby Glasgow about five years ago, after their kids grew up and moved out.

But the radiator business wasn't flourishing.  "The competition from the internet — Chinese parts and that," he said. "The business wasn't growing like I wanted it to."

He'd been brewing for his friends and events during that time and had collected some equipment for larger batches.

Then the Boresons took a trip a few years ago to a Montana Brewers Association symposium. Connie Boreson said it covered some of the business aspects particular to the brewing business. Returning home, she said it was a snap decision.  "We drove home from there and decided to open a brewery," Connie Boreson said.

The last radiator job left Boreson's shop in 2014.

Boreson set out to turn his Glasgow work space into a functioning brewery. After clearing it out, he had to get decades worth of grease out of the shop's nooks and crannies.  "Took him a month to chip it off the floor," Connie Boreson said.

 

The brewery has a gearhead theme. Connie Boreson said it rightly reflects her husband's life. The beers have names like "4-barrel rye ale" and "blown motor IPA." The main bar counter was cut from a bowling alley lane at the old Opheim radar base.

And Boreson is trying to source his grain from as nearby as possible. "One of them, we used some local hops to flavor that," he said of an IPA.

Last fall, Boreson received a $39,250 grant through the Montana Department of Agriculture. He'll use it to add to his production — he's the only brewer — and expand distribution to establishments across the Hi-Line.

Boreson estimated he did about 300 barrels of beer last year, and the tasting room is usually full during its evening hours. He cans all of his beers in 32-ounce “Master Cylinders” to sell on site.

He said that he wouldn't reconsider leaving his repair work to jump into brewing. Glasgow was ready for a brewery, and now he's the one greeting his regulars by name at the door.

And the Busted Knuckle is bringing more people up to northeastern Montana. Maps on the wall hold pins with the location of visitors,

Boreson said he was ready for a change from being a mechanic.  “I like to fix things, but there’s enough here to keep me busy, and the car business has changed,” he said.

He started home brewing with a Mr. Beer kit and kept at it. People responded to his efforts, so after four or five years brewing, he decided to make a business of his hobby.

“All the time we’re trying to get people off Bud Light,” he said. “Northeastern Montana might be later to the game with micro-brews, so it’s been an education for people.”

He got a mixture of new and used brewing vats for the brewing process and, given his mechanical skills, he built much of the connecting implements himself.

It was a rapid turnaround. Busted Knuckle Brewery opened in June of 2015, joining a growing number of regional craft beer locations in Sidney, Havre and Wolf Point.

"I started with four beers," Boreson said. He brewed an amber, a hefeweizen, a stout and an India pale ale for his debut, and it grew from there.

The Busted Knuckle quickly became a community spot. Boreson now boasts 11 beers, including IPAs, Scottish ale and a warm-tasting nut brown ale. He recently finished his first lager, which is a smooth, no-frills dark beer.

who came from Europe, Australia, Asia, and across the United States.

That was the biggest surprise for Boreson.  "How far people come to go to a brewery," he said.