Montana beer brewers worry aluminum tariff would wipe out bump … – Helena Independent Record

“It would certainly have an effect on our bottom line,” said Noland Smith, who co-founded Philipsburg Brewing Co.

Brewers around the state estimate the aluminum tariff would cost about a penny a can. For Smith, whose brewery went through 500,000 aluminum bottles last year, that would cost $5,000.

“It would be about a third of the savings we would see,” said Smith, who expects a $15,000 drop in his federal tax bill from the tax bill passed in Congress. The bill halved the excise tax on barrels for brewers like him.

“With summer coming up, that’s when we ramp up our production here and it certainly has us a little concerned as far as having to pass that onto the consumer,” Smith said.


Daines at Big Sky

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., left, chats with Big Sky Brewing Co. employee Joe Petrilli in Missoula while touring breweries across Montana.

“While we’re still waiting on the details of the proposal, ensuring that U.S. farmers, ranchers, workers, brewers and other small businesses are able to compete on a level playing field is critical to Montana jobs. We should avoid imposing broadly applied tariffs because they are a tax on families, small businesses and consumers, and invite retaliatory tariffs from other countries,” said Daines, a Republican.

Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, Montana’s only member in the House, said keeping foreign markets open is “critically important to Montana” and that “no one wins with trade wars.”

“Free and fair trade is crucial for Montana, and it benefits our hard-working farmers ranchers, brewers and other small business owners. Where there are unfair trade practices, we should level the playing field, just like we have with Canadian lumber. But no one wins with trade wars. Foreign markets are critically important to Montana, and we need to keep them open,” Gianforte said.

Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, was also critical of the proposed tariffs.

“The uncertainty created by this administration’s actions on trade are very concerning to me. We need to protect our jobs, our steel and aluminum, but I’m concerned about retaliatory tariffs that could hurt Montana’s farmers, ranchers and brewers,” Tester said.

Though Montana brewers don’t have a lot of specifics or a crystal ball to predict the future, they said any price increase can hurt business.

“It’s hard to come up with a number as to what the aluminum tariff would do to the price of beer, but anything that increases our raw materials is a negative to us because we’ve got to pass that cost onto the consumer,” said Max Pigman, who owns Lewis and Clark Brewing Co. in Helena.

“The tax reform was a good thing for us. This would not be a good thing for us,” Pigman said.


Lewis and Clark Brewing Co. owner Max Pigman

Lewis and Clark Brewing Co. owner Max Pigman is shown in this IR file photo.

Lewis and Clark Brewing Co. buys cans from a company that purchases bulk aluminum, so Pigman expects any increase in the price of aluminum would be passed on to him.

Pigman’s brewery, unlike larger operations, also has a short pricing contract — three months at a time — so he’d expect to see an increase in can costs by the second quarter of any increase in tariffs.

“In our market, if we had a 10 percent increase (in aluminum tariffs), it wouldn’t necessarily be a 10 percent increase in the cost of beer, but there would have to be some sort of price change to offset that,” Pigman said.

At Lewis and Clark Brewing Co., Pigman expects to save $25,000 this year because of the provision in the tax reform that he said brewers like him have been working to get for three years.

The money is going to hiring — an employee was brought on last week and Pigman is looking for two more full-time positions each in production and sales.

Smith has a longer contract on his unique aluminum bottles with resealable lids, though he said he hasn’t looked into provisions in the contract that might allow for price adjustments.

He said he’s expecting to reinvest his federal tax savings into the brewery and might be able to offer benefits to workers.

Matt Leow, executive director of the Montana Brewers Association, said information from the national Brewers Association shows 98 percent of can sheet is produced and made into cans in the United States, but that the proposed tariff is still expected to drive up costs a penny a can. Sixty-six percent of the primary aluminum, the main ingredient in can sheet, is imported from Canada.

On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the proposed tariffs might not apply to Canada or Mexico, if those countries agreed to Trump’s demands on NAFTA negotiations. Both countries rejected that.

Leow said because so much of the aluminum already comes from the United States, it’s hard to understand why Trump proposed the aluminum tariff.

“Anything that increases cost for small businesses like craft brewers, we should be concerned about and it should come with good reason, and in this case it’s hard to understand why,” Leow said.

Over the last 15 years, Montana brewers have started to embrace the can as the vessel of choice to distribute beer, Pigman said. The Montana Brewers Association is in the middle of a member survey and didn’t have specific numbers on how many of its members can.

Lewis and Clark Brewing Co. used to bottle its beer but switched to cans when it moved into its new facility in 2011.

Case volume quadrupled the first year the brewery switched to cans. Tasting good canned beer increased consumer confidence and cans fit much better with outdoor activities like skiing and floating the river. The price of canning systems has also dropped and some consumers show a preference for aluminum, which is easier to recycle than glass in Montana.

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Locals hope casino is on a roll for the area – Sharonherald

MERCER COUNTY – Mercer County officials will know this week if the odds are still good for a new mini casino in the county.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is set to open bids Wednesday for the fifth round of 10 opportunities to buy rights to open a casino somewhere in the state.

Under the rules, a bidder doesn’t have to identify that it is interested in a mini casino until the bids are turned in Wednesday morning. New bidding opportunities will come every two weeks until the 10th round is complete, which is expected to be in May.

Mercer County has been in a good position for a bid once before, only to have a glitch take it away.

On Feb. 21, it looked like a deal was in hand for the county to get a casino. The Gaming Board awarded Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem the right to open that casino, which would have been located in the county.

But later that day, the board invalidated the Sands bid of nearly $9.9 million. The sticking point was Sands wanted to build a casino within a 15-mile area that would have encroached on the territory won Feb. 7 by Mt. Airy Casino. Regulations prohibit a casino from being within a 15-mile radious of another one.

The Sands’ territory would have been in a 15-mile radius around a point just off Wasser Bridge Road in Hempfield Township southeast of Greenville. Mt. Airy’s territory is a 15-mile radius around a location in Hickory Township, Lawrence County.

The two circles overlap in an approximate area from the Grove City Outlet shops northwest to Mercer and including East Lackawannock Township, almost entirely in Mercer County.

Still, Randy Seitz, chief executive officer of Penn-Northwest Development Corp., likes the odds.

“When I talked to the Sands people, they told me they have every intention of rebidding and moving forward,” Seitz said. Penn-Northwest is Mercer County’s lead economic development agency.

Calls to the Sands Corp.’s main office in Las Vegas and to the company’s Pennsylvania office in Bethlehem for comment were not returned.

“We’re always excited about something that will have a positive impact on our community,” said Sherris Moreira, executive director of the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce. “We want to make sure this adds to the community, and not taking something away.”

Shenango Valley Mall in Hermitage has been mentioned as a possible location.

And that would be great, said Michael Muha, an attorney who also is a Hermitage commissioner.

“But in being honest – I’m not so sure if that will happen,” Muha said. “The reason I’m not so sure is the mall has been placed in receivership and that brings in a whole lot of different variables.”

Under a Feb. 8 ruling, a Pittsburgh federal judge found the Shenango Valley Mall’s ownership in default of a loan and allowed the lender to foreclose on the property and place it under receivership.

The Hermitage mall was placed under the receivership of Metro Commercial Management Services of Mt. Laurel, N.J. Two of the mall’s anchor tenants, Sears and Macy’s, closed last March with a number of other smaller stores following since then.

“The mall certainly has room for a casino, and there’s lots of parking spaces there,” Muha said. “But all of this is speculation and is conditioned on Sands being awarded the license.”

Mini-casino facilities are permitted to operate up to 300 and 750 slot machines and as many as 40 table games. Full-service casinos such as Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem can operate maximums of 5,000 slot machines and 250 table games.

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Molly's Game film review: Jessica Chastain plays poker legend in Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut – South China Morning Post

2.5/5 stars

There’s a saying that moderation is key, and that is true of Molly’s Game, the directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin. Best known for penning the snappy dialogue and intercutting narratives of the Oscar-nominated The Social Network, Sorkin gives a lot more of the same with his based-on-real-life story of Molly Bloom.

Bloom (Jessica Chastain) is a former Olympic-level skier who spent a decade running high stakes poker games for big shots in Los Angeles and New York. But without someone else on set to tighten Sorkin’s ambitiously verbose script, we’re left with along and overly dramatic film that stretches itself too thin by the third act.

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Just the poker saga of Bloom’s life – she moved to LA in 2003 to work as a cocktail waitress and by 2006 had names like Leonardo DiCaprio on her speed dial – would be interesting enough. But Sorkin delves in way too deep, covering Bloom’s childhood, rebellious teenage years and resentment toward her authoritative father (Kevin Costner), her Olympic dreams, and finally, how she got into, and ruled, the world of underground poker.

While the main timeline focuses on Bloom two years after her game got raided by government authorities as she and lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba) attempt to free herself of legal troubles, these multiple timelines often sap the film of momentum.

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Molly’s Game is marketed as a poker film, but it’s full of what American pop culture fans have dubbed “Sorkinese”, meaning nobody here talks like a normal person. Everyone has 500-word monologues full of four syllable words ready to throw at the opposing party. Even children in the film are not immune.

At least Sorkin found the perfect actress to deliver his soliloquies. Chastain has built a career out of playing no-nonsense, iron-willed women who can own a room full of powerful men, and she is as good as ever here. Molly’s Game is purely for fans of Sorkin or Chastain, however.

Molly’s Game opens on March 8

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Source: Moose, CarGo on White Sox radar –

They play in a premier U.S. market. They won the World Series in the first decade of the current century. They are fewer than 10 years removed from carrying one of the five largest payrolls in Major League Baseball. Now they are emerging from a rebuild, with plans to make major on-field investments over the next several years.

And with bargains possibly available this month, they could act sooner than expected.

They play in a premier U.S. market. They won the World Series in the first decade of the current century. They are fewer than 10 years removed from carrying one of the five largest payrolls in Major League Baseball. Now they are emerging from a rebuild, with plans to make major on-field investments over the next several years.

And with bargains possibly available this month, they could act sooner than expected.

All of the above describes the Phillies, who have considered the possibility of adding two free-agent starting pitchers from the group of Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, sources told

The foregoing is true of the White Sox, as well.

Much like the Phillies, the White Sox won’t be picked by many experts to finish higher than third in their division this year. But a significant signing — or two — in the coming weeks could change the perception and reality for both teams.

While the White Sox could sign a starting pitcher, they appear more inclined to add a position player. One source said the White Sox have had dialogue in recent months with agent Scott Boras concerning two of his free agents, third baseman Mike Moustakas and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today was first to report that the White Sox are “staying in touch” with Moustakas.

Moustakas, 29, is a more natural fit for the White Sox roster than Gonzalez, 32, because the team’s needs at third base — in the near term and long term — are more pronounced than the outfield.

The top third-base candidates already in camp, Yolmer Sanchez and Matt Davidson, were below league-average hitters in 2017, as determined by OPS+. Neither is signed to a long-term contract. The organization’s top prospect at the position, Jake Burger, has yet to play above Class A and is expected to miss the entire 2018 season with a ruptured left Achilles tendon.

Meanwhile, the acquisition of Gonzalez could require some reshuffling of the White Sox outfield. Gonzalez has not appeared in the Majors at a position other than right field since 2014, and that spot belongs to Avisail Garcia, who is coming off his first career All-Star selection. Garcia, 26, isn’t on track to enter free agency until after the 2019 season. In Chicago, Gonzalez likely would be viewed as a left fielder and designated hitter, alternating with 2017 second-half sensation Nicky Delmonico.

More notes around the Majors, now that the offseason activity has extended into March

• The Nationals have only two catchers on their 40-man roster — Matt Wieters and Pedro Severino — and one source said Saturday that they still would like to add another Major Leaguer at the position. While their efforts to acquire J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins have been unsuccessful — so far — free agent Jonathan Lucroy surprisingly remains an option.

At this time last year, Lucroy was preparing to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, where he ultimately appeared in four games en route to a gold medal. But he struggled offensively for much of 2017, finishing with his worst OPS+ since his rookie season in 2010.

Severino is out of Minor League options, according to, and the Nationals may be concerned about losing him on waivers if they sign Lucroy. While he managed only a .433 OPS in 31 Major League plate appearances last season, Severino’s strong throwing arm would bring value as a backup catcher.

• With Logan Morrison, Lucas Duda, Mike Napoli, and Adam Lind all signing within the past week, Mark Reynolds is the lone significant name remaining on what had been a crowded first-base market. Reynolds has stayed in contact with his most recent team, the Rockies, one source said Saturday.

Reynolds, 34, is coming off a season in which he posted his best totals in games played (148) and home runs (30) since 2011 — and best OPS (.839) since 2009.

Jon Paul Morosi is a columnist for

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AR-15 rifle, ammunition found on high school campus in Pasco … – ABC Action News

DADE CITY, Fla. — Police discovered an AR-15 rifle and ammunition on a high school campus in Pasco County on Friday.

According to Pasco County Schools, a staff member noticed shell casings in the bed of a student’s truck at Pasco High School, so he looked inside the cab of the truck and saw a suspicious object.

School officials called Dade City Police, and they opened the object, which was a gun case that contained an AR-15 rifle and ammunition.


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Dillon Nathanial Xynides, 18, was arrested and charged with Possession of a Weapon on School Property, a third degree felony. Pasco County Schools says that his truck has also been removed from campus.

“At no time was there a threat against the school or anyone affiliated with the school,” according to the school district. “It is our understanding that the gun was purchased last night for recreational hunting.”

“People have been making fake gun threats,” said student Bree Milza. “So him bringing one on campus was a really stupid idea, especially with what’s been going on lately.” 

“By all accounts, Xynides is said to be a very good young man with no prior disciplinary actions noted by school administration. He did post a video of the firearm on Snapchat last evening, but there were no expressed threats made and the school was never placed in a lock-down. He has been cooperative with investigators. Police have met with Xynides’ mother, who also has been very forthcoming and cooperative,” Dade City Police wrote in a press release.

“We take the matters of school safety very seriously and feel a great obligation to establish and maintain a safe learning environment for all students and staff in our schools”, Acting Chief James Walters said. The Chief further stated that, “we will not take any less chance in protecting the students in our schools than we would if they were our own children.” 

Pasco High School is continuing normal operations and everyone is reportedly safe. 

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