Once the last stand of local brewing in four states, Great Falls is back in the beer biz Wochit

The Montana Tavern Association has a new mobile app, SWIG406.

“SWIG406 is all about local beverages at local bars,” said MTA president Dax Cetraro in a news release that accompanied the unveiling. “It’s a way to explore Montana, visiting and experiencing some of Montana’s original ‘Main Street’ small businesses first hand.”

SWIG406 provides subscribers with a free Montana-crafted beverage at participating bars and restaurants. It was an idea that came from a bar owner in rural Montana.

“I thought, how can I give people a reason to experience my business, my town?” explained Tanya Harper, owner of the Pioneer Bar in Cut Bank. “Everyone is on their phone, so I brought the idea of a mobile phone app to the MTA and now taverns and restaurants across the state are participating.”

The SWIG406 app is free from the App Store or Google Play. The free version of the app marks your location and gives you a list of participating bars and taverns nearby, so it’s handy if you’re looking for a place to go in a town you’re not familiar with.

You can also view those establishments’ profiles to find their address, hours, pictures and specials.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, there’s an option to subscribe to it for a $5 monthly fee.

For that subscription, you can travel to more than 75 participating establishments throughout the state and get a free Montana-crafted beverage, brewed or distilled. If you aren’t a fan of microbrews or you are loyal to your own brand, ask the bartender.

“We have 76 locations right now,” said MTA Executive Director Margaret Herriges. “I predict that by the end of June, we’ll have over 100.”

On the business end of things, Tavern Association members can be part of the app for free. Non-member bars who wish to participate pay a $500 yearly fee.

SWIG406 purchasers are eligible to get at least one free drink per year at each participating tavern, although some bars may make a free drink available more often. As you travel into an area, the taverns closest to you will show up at the top of the screen in the app.

“It’s a bit misleading to say that these are all taverns,” said Herriges, “because so many of Montana’s taverns are also restaurants. If you look in the events area on each screen, you will see that many of them also talk about their menus.”

Additionally, SWIG406 provides the ability to mark a location as a favorite, check out their social media pages and request a ride if you’ve had a few too many. Favorited locations will send out push alerts when they have events, as well.

Know someone who likes to go out on the town? Give SWIG406 as a gift. Anyone can use the app to buy a one-month all the way up to a 12-month subscription of SWIG406 for a friend or relative.

“It’s a gift that doesn’t take up any space, and you never have to dust it,” said Herriges.

Herriges hopes SWIG406 will get users to check out locations and drinks they might not otherwise try. It’s also a way to promote what Big Sky Country has to offer.

“We’re just really proud to be supporting all things Montana, from the farmers who grow the grain to the brewers and distillers who create the product to the establishments that serve it,” she said. “It truly is Montana-centric.”

For more information about the app, visit or contact the MTA at 406-442-5040.

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Traci Rosenbaum at 791-1490. Follow her on Twitter @GFTrib_TRosenba.

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