Montana Bartending License Requirements

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: January 20, 2024
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Breaking into the world of bartending can be an exciting journey, particularly in Montana, where the craft is both respected and regulated. This article explores the necessary steps to become a licensed bartender in Montana and helps you navigate the regulations and requirements.

Do You Need a Bartending License in Montana?

Yes, Montana requires servers and sellers of alcoholic beverages to complete a Montana bartending license certification from a state-approved training program within 60 days of being hired.

You must also be at least 18 to serve liquor or bartend in Montana.

The Importance of Bartending in Montana

Bartending is more than just mixing drinks; it’s a profession that requires specific skills, training, and a deep understanding of state regulations, especially in Montana. As a bartender, you serve as an ambassador for your establishment, often being the first point of contact for patrons. This role comes with a great deal of responsibility and respect.

Age Requirement and Basic Prerequisites

Minimum Age Requirement

The first thing to understand about becoming a bartender in Montana is the age requirement. Bartenders, waiters, or waitresses must be at least 18 years of age, according to the APIS.

This rule ensures that individuals serving alcohol are mature and can responsibly handle any situations that may arise.

Other Helpful Requirements

Beyond the age requirement, other prerequisites may be beneficial for aspiring bartenders. These include having a driver’s license or passport, good communication skills, the ability to stand for long periods, and knowledge of basic drink recipes. While these aren’t required by law, they can significantly increase your success and longevity in the industry.

Mandatory State-Approved Training

What the Training Entails

Montana state law requires all those serving or selling alcohol to undergo state-approved training. This program includes ways to identify and prevent sales and service to underage persons, how to refuse a sale, and how to handle difficult situations.

You can find a list of approved trainers on the Montana Department of Revenue website.

Importance of Renewal Training

Ensuring your bartending skills are up-to-date is essential, with Montana requiring renewal training every three years. This continual education allows bartenders to stay informed about changes in state regulations and refresh their knowledge of industry best practices.

Online Training Options

Online training options are available for those who prefer the convenience of learning from home. Various state-approved companies, such as AACEA, ServingAlcohol, ServSafe and others, offer comprehensive courses tailored to Montana’s specific laws and regulations.

Financial Responsibility of the Training

One crucial consideration for would-be bartenders is the cost of the necessary training and who is responsible for it. The law is silent on this issue, meaning an agreement between the employer and the employee typically determines the cost.

Role of the Liquor License Holder

Liquor license holders are crucial in ensuring their employees are adequately trained and meet all of Montana’s bartending requirements. They must confirm that all employees who serve or sell alcohol and their immediate supervisors are adequately trained.

What You Will Learn in Training

Montana’s alcohol server training is comprehensive, designed to equip bartenders with a wide range of skills and knowledge. Topics covered include recognizing signs of intoxication, understanding standard drink units, and utilizing behaviour cues and evaluation models to determine intoxication levels.

Utilizing State Resources

Montana offers numerous resources to assist in understanding and complying with the state’s bartending regulations. The Montana Department of Revenue is a valuable tool, providing resources like education calendars and additional liquor educational materials.

What Is the Job Market Like for Bartenders in Montana?

Montana, known for its beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities, has a robust tourism industry that creates demand for hospitality services, including bartending. Cities like Billings, Missoula, and Bozeman are home to numerous restaurants, bars, and breweries, offering opportunities for bartenders.

Seasonal trends can affect job availability too. For example, there might be more opportunities during peak tourism seasons when establishments need additional staff to accommodate the influx of visitors.

How Much Money Do Bartenders Make in Montana?

According to websites like Indeed and Intuit, the average base salary for a bartender in Nevada is $11.74 or $24,500 per year as of 2023, according to Intuit Mint’s data based on tax returns.

What Cities Are Good Places for Bartending Work in Montana?

  • Billings: As the largest city in Montana, Billings boasts a variety of bars, restaurants, and breweries. The downtown area is particularly bustling, with numerous establishments serving locals and tourists.
  • Missoula: Known for its vibrant cultural scene and the University of Montana, Missoula offers many opportunities in a youthful and energetic environment. The city is home to several craft breweries and distilleries.
  • Bozeman: A bustling college town (home to Montana State University) and a gateway to Yellowstone National Park, Bozeman has a dynamic hospitality scene. The city’s restaurants and bars often need bartenders to serve both the local population and the many tourists who visit each year.
  • Whitefish: A popular resort town close to Glacier National Park, Whitefish attracts numerous tourists, particularly during the ski season. This influx of visitors creates a strong demand for hospitality services, including bartending.
  • Helena: As Montana’s capital city, Helena has a range of establishments, from classic pubs to upscale cocktail lounges, that could offer opportunities for bartenders.
  • Kalispell: Located near Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake, Kalispell’s vibrant hospitality industry caters to the town’s many visitors, making it a potential location for bartending work.

The Rewards of Bartending in Montana

With all the requirements met and your state-approved training completed, you’re now ready to experience the rewards of bartending in Montana. Montana’s Liquor Education Unit of the Department of Revenue has been recognized nationally, highlighting the state’s commitment to quality and responsible service in the industry.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a bartender in Montana requires dedication, learning, and a commitment to maintaining high service standards. However, the profession’s rewards are many, making it a worthwhile pursuit for those passionate about the industry.

If you’re interested in bartending in other American states, we’ve written an article about bartending requirements across America here.