Last Night I was lucky enough to be around a whole host of people that mean an awful lot to me as we celebrated 10 years of Headframe Spirits. How has it been 10 years??


It’s incredible to me how a length of time like a decade can feel like both an eternity, AND a blink of an eye at the same time. My brain wants to argue that ‘there just isn’t any way, that they have been there for 10 years already” and in the same breath “Well, but what was in that building before them? They are a fixture!”


I have nothing but incredible thoughts and memories of my time over a table at Headframe, it’s been my bride and I’s “escape”, even if that escape is only 15 minutes long it’s time we can sit, decompress and be with one another. It’s also ‘that’ place where we see all of our friends. I don’t know, maybe it’s our version of ‘Cheers’ at 21 S. Montana, and if so I’m here for it.

Panisko-Townsquare media
Panisko-Townsquare media

Last night Courtney and John McKee celebrated 10 years here in the Mining City, and during their speech, there were several things brought up that I want to make sure everyone is aware of.

(quotes taken from Courtney’s speech)

“What does Headframe do? We run a distillery where we make our own spirits.”

“We run a Tasting Room, where we welcome the public and the community to share what we do and to connect with one another.”

“We also build stills, which we sell to clients all over the world.  Many of our clients are small businesses like us, looking to add value to their own communities and we’re proud to serve them.”

“And we do contract distilling work, which enabled us to open the largest single malt distillery west of the Mississippi, utilizing 18,000 pounds of Montana grain daily.”


All of that is amazing but that last part is incredible…

“And we do contract distilling work, which enabled us to open the largest single malt distillery west of the Mississippi, utilizing 18,000 pounds of Montana grain daily.


Panisko- townsquare media
Panisko- townsquare media

"Why did we start Headframe?”

“John was raised here and we love living here.”

“In 2010, John lost his job building biodiesel refineries--essentially big biodiesel distilleries--around the midwest.  We were living here, raising our kids here, and John was traveling a lot for work.  When he lost his job, we had to either leave to chase biodiesel jobs or stay and find something new for John to do.”

“John knew distillation.  He loved a good cocktail.  And we both loved Butte. So, we stayed and used what he knew to create Butte’s first-ever legal distiller.  (I say legal because we all know there’s been plenty of booze made without a license in Butte’s past.)”


In my opinion, Headframe’s Success isn’t exhibited by its multitude of bottles and barrels, it’s in the mark they have made in our community.

Just some of the good that Headframes has done in our community.

(Again, pulled from Courtney’s speech)

“Headframe is a certified B-Corporation.  That means we’re here to create more good than simply a return to our shareholders.  We’re here to do real Good."

With your help, Headframe has:

  • Donated over $350,000 to local organizations and charities
  • Produced and delivered 6600 gallons of Hand Sanitizer.. so much sanitizer.
  • Funded 27 breast and cervical screenings for those that couldn’t otherwise afford them.
  • Hosted over 100 artists hosted with over $40,000 of art sold—and Headframe didn’t take a single penny in commission.  That value belongs with the artists and it’s a privilege for us to be the display space for them.
  • Consumed over 3,121,469 pounds of grain
  • Produced over half a million bottles of spirit
  • Sold 28 stills out into the world
  • Revitalized two buildings
  • Created about 30 new jobs here in our backyard
  • Had an economic impact of over $10 million in our community

None of this would have been possible without you.

panisko-townsquare media
panisko-townsquare media

These final points I think are pretty fantastic and worth your time as well, again from Courtney McKee last evening.


“I want to share 3 things I’ve learned personally in the last 10 years:

  • I thought, in opening a business--and not having any outside investors--that we would sink or swim on our own merit.  Turns out, you sink or swim on the merit of the people you surround yourself with.  I’m incredibly proud of the people on Team Headframe.  Could you please raise your hands?  Can we give them a round of applause?  We are what we are because of them.
  • I’ve learned that my two core values are Community and Courage.  It’s been true my whole life, I just couldn’t name it until recently.  Those values are why I’m standing here today and they’re “The Why” behind all of my actions and decisions.  I encourage each of you to clarify your values and your purpose.  Life is too short to live without purpose.
  • Lastly, I wasn’t born here, I’ve only been here 21 years, so I’ll never have the privilege of being from Butte.  I did, however, make a Butte Boy, our son Cooper was born here, and I’m very proud of that.  Despite me not being born here, I was born to be a Butte girl and I’m so grateful to all of you for having me!”


10 years in and Headframe has new labels, a new website, and new merchandise. But everything you have come to know, and love is the same.

Headframe is a Big Damn Deal! Here’s to the next decade!


More From 92.5 KAAR Country