This story originally published in the September 2014 issue of POWDER (43.1)
Skiing’s heart may belong to the red, white, and blue of a PBR can, but two native Montanans are disrupting that matrimony with a cheap beer and regional appeal. Meet Montucky Cold Snacks, the sudsy brainchild of 33-year-old Chad Zeitner and 31-year-old Jeremy Gregory, two lifelong skiers that didn’t want to make ‘just another beer’ in the logjam of local microbrews. Instead, in 2012, the Bozeman-based pair used their savings to create a cheap, drinkable four-percent lager for the Treasure State. Though they currently outsource brewing and canning to the Midwest to cut startup costs, plans to move production in state are already in motion. Sold only in Montana (they hope to expand to Seattle and Portland in 2015), the $5.99 price per six pack of 16-ounce cans is right, and the name catchy. Meanwhile, eight percent of proceeds go to local charities, like Big Sky Youth Empowerment—as if Montanans needed more good reasons to drink beer. Lately, that’s translated to powder-blue cans taking over lift lines, parking lot tailgates, and base-area bars—affirming that a day of cold smoke is often best complemented with a Cold Snack.
Kade: So, Chad, why is Montana the right place for a Cold Snack?
Chad: It’s just the culture here combining everything we love to do. You have tons of skiing, mountains all over the place. We figured Montana needed a beer that spoke to that culture.
Where’d that name come from?
Montucky is a certain term of endearment for Montana, a way to embrace our redneck roots and backwoods style. And then Cold Snacks was just too fun a name to ignore: “Hey, toss me a Cold Snack.”
There’s a decent support base in Montana. Who’s been the most surprising supporter?
We get quite a few moms that say they don’t like drinking beer but they like ours for some reason. It’s weird.
Do you embrace being a ski bum beer?
Well, we’re working for it. We have some pretty stiff competition with PBR, but Big Sky has really embraced it. And last season was our first at Bridger and it’s done pretty well there. I think we’re well on our way to becoming the ski bum beer of choice.
Is it cool bringing your own branded beer to a party?
It is, man. I love giving it away. And it happens on the hill, too. You’re sitting next to someone on the chairlift and it’s kind of fun to hand over a beer. I guess the one issue is that we don’t have a 12-ounce can and chairlifts can be pretty short, so drink fast.
Sixteen ounces or bust. Why’d you go with pounders?
We want to do the 16s because you grab a six-pack and you’re good to go. Montana’s a big state and needs a big beer.
How else are you involved in the ski community?
We’re small, so all we really have to offer right now is beer, which works out pretty well in a ski community because they tend to drink a lot of it.
Are you guys sponsoring anyone?
Yeah, a couple local pros: Corey Seemann, John Spriggs, and Brock Paddock. We stock them up with beer through June. Then we also sponsor a rodeo clown.
A rodeo clown?
Yeah, Danger Dave. Jeremy’s college roommate knew the guy so we hooked him up with some beers and let him do his thing. It’s not a normal collaboration, but we like to do what other people aren’t.
Now about this slogan, “Fuck Sunny White Beaches”…
It’s our way of saying Montana has everything we could ever ask for, who needs sunny white beaches, anyway? Our ski slopes are our sunny white beaches, our riverbanks are our sunny white beaches, we don’t need the literal. Fuck that.