Impact Studies

The Continuing Economic Impact of Craft Brewing in Montana

By Bureau of Business and Economic Research

In this study we examine the economic contributions of craft brewing to the state of Montana. This is the third iteration of this research, previously completed in 2012 and 2014, separately. We find the Montana craft brewing industry to be experiencing rapid growth, with total beer production having increased by 87% since we began collecting data in 2010. Measured by other metrics the industry is growing even faster, with sales, employment, compensation, and expenditures all having more than doubled in that time. Given all this activity, we find the total economic impact of craft brewing to be sizeable, contributing 1,044 jobs, almost $34 million in personal income, $103 million in output by Montana businesses, and 278 additional residents living in the state due to the operations of Montana state brewers. New to this study is Montana brewer agricultural purchases, totaling about $4.5 million dollars in 2015. Finally we look at some of the intangible benefits of brewpubs and find them to invigorate neighborhoods, repurpose industrial properties and bring communities together.

The Economic Contribution of Grizzly Intercollegiate Athletics

By Bureau of Business and Economic Research

Intercollegiate sports in general, and the University of Montana's sports programs in particular, have grown in popularity, impact and visibility. The business aspects of the spectator sports activities everything from spending by attendees to the marketing of apparel and merchandise have important consequences for businesses, households and government in Missoula. This study examines the size and scope of those economic contributions.

The Economic Implications of Implementing the EPA Clean Power Plan in Montana

By Bureau of Business and Economic Research

On August 3, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its Final Rule for its Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing CO2 emission rates for electric generating units around the country. The implementation of this plan will require a larger percentage reduction in CO2 emission rates – comparing 2030 targets to the 2012 baseline – than any other state. The large revision in Montana's required CO2 emission reduction has narrowed the choice set for compliance for our state. This report estimates the economic impact of a scenario in which the main emission reducing mechanism is the closure of Colstrip SES. Utilizing the REMI economic model the report details employment, business gross receipts, personal income, tax and non-tax revenue, population and consumption impacts.

The Economic Impact of Trailhead Commerce Park

By Patrick Barkey, Director and Paul Polzin, Director Emeritus


Trailhead Commerce Park is a rail-accessible industrial development project located in Lockwood, Montana, that is intended to serve manufacturing, transportation, warehousing, and other commercial business development. As it is conceived by its developers, its location adjacent to the BNSF/MRL rail line, bisected by the proposed Billings bypass roadway, and situated in the strategically well-positioned Billings market area, would make it an attractive candidate for business expansion. Its successful construction and development could be a major economic event for the Billings and southeastern Montana economies.

The Growing Economic Impact of Craft Brewing in Montana

By Colin Sorenson, Research Economist


This is a study of the economic contribution of Montana craft brewing to Montana’s economy. The first study of this nature on the brewing industry was conducted in 2012, based on operating conditions in 2010 and 2011. The current study builds on that work by investigating the trends during 2012 and 2013 and estimating the current economic contribution of the industry. There were 40 breweries operating in the state by the end of 2013, with another 11 breweries in planning. This ranks Montana third in the nation in breweries per 100,000 adults over age 21, according to the Brewers Association.

The Economic Impact of the Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology

By Patrick M. Barkey, BBER Director


This is a study of the effects on the Montana economy of the operations of the Montana Board of Research and Commercialization Technology (MBRCT), a program established by the Montana Legislature in 2000 to encourage economic development through investment in Montana-based research projects with a clear path to commercialization. The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana (BBER), using a state-of-the-art policy analysis model and publicly available data on program spending and associated impacts, produced a detailed assessment of the ultimate impact of the operations of the program on employment, income, output, and population in the Montana economy.

The Impact of the Otter Creek Coal Development on the Montana Economy

By Patrick M. Barkey, BBER Director


What could responsible coal development mean to the Montana economy? Montana’s estimated 119 billion tons of coal reserves are the largest of any state, yet we produce only a tenth of the coal mined in Wyoming. Now the prospects for new investment and new production in the Otter Creek tracts in Powder River County have propelled a new question to center stage: exactly how would the state economy be affected if an expansion in coal production were to take place?

The University of Montana: Growing Montana's Economy

By Patrick M. Barkey, BBER Director


This report documents the research findings of how the operations and the output of The University of Montana – Missoula result in a larger, more prosperous, and more populous Montana economy. The additional earnings power of its graduates, the contributions of its research, patents and inventions, and the millions of dollars of business it conducts with Montana vendors of products and services extend its ultimate economic footprint to all corners of the state.

Evaluation and Economic Impact of the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center

By Paul E. Polzin


The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center (MMEC) works with manufacturers to create and retain jobs, innovate, reduce costs, increase profit, and save time and money. MMEC employees usually make on-site visits to manufacturing clients to assess the problems and suggest appropriate solutions and assist with implementation. MMEC closely monitors its performance by welcoming feedback and carefully following an evaluation procedure developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Clients are surveyed each year about their satisfaction with the services they received. These respondents are also asked to quantify certain economic impacts and outcomes associated with MMEC visits. This report summarizes the responses received from MMEC visits during 2012.

The Economic Contribution of Craft Brewing in Montana

By Colin B. Sorenson and Todd A. Morgan


Montana's 33 craft brewers represent a growing sector of manufacturing activity in the state, according to a new survey and economic impact study by researchers Colin Sorenson and Todd Morgan of The University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

The Economic Impact of Increased Production at the Spring Creek Mine

By Patrick M. Barkey


This report summarizes the findings of an investigation into the likely impacts on the Montana economy of a significant expansion in coal production at the Spring Creek mine operated by Cloud Peak Energy near Decker, Montana. The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at The University of Montana, using a state-of-the-art policy analysis model, analyzed the employment, income, production, and other economic flows that would result from a hypothetical 20 million tons per year increase in mine output. The analysis indicates that such an expansion, if it were to take place, would have a sizable impact on employment, income, production, population, and tax revenues in the state of Montana.

The Economic Impact of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts

By Patrick M. Barkey


This report contains a detailed assessment of the economic impacts of the on-going operations of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, located in Helena, Montana. The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, using a state-of-the-art policy analysis model, analyzed the employment, income, production, and other economic flows that are realized in the Montana economy because of the presence of Archie Bray. The analysis indicates that the facility’s production and sale of art, its ongoing education and workshops, as well as the significance of Archie Bray as a destination for cultural tourists to Montana combine to produce an impact that is significantly larger than the budget of the institution itself.


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