Montana is known for its spectacular, wide-open spaces; but, by comparison, its breadth of distilleries doesn\u2019t quite match the state\u2019s sprawl. At least, not yet.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe thing that makes a distillery most unique in Montana is its size,\u201d says Keith Robins, owner/chief barman at The Standard, a cocktail and dessert bar in the ski resort town of Big Sky. By that, he means that Montana has retained some of the strictest laws in the country for its distilleries. As a result, many remain modest in size.\r\n\r\nThe state had a relatively late start in the craft distillery boom. A shift in state legislation in 2005 changed Prohibition-era liquor laws to finally permit micro-distilleries to produce small batches of alcohol for limited distribution. As of the end of 2019, Montana was home to just 25 craft distilleries, according to the American Craft Distillery Association (2020 figures are not yet available).\r\n\r\nEven today, those distilleries still work around stringent regulations that limit how much liquor can be produced and sold. Tastings rooms can serve no more than two drinks to each customer, and can\u2019t serve past 8pm.\r\n\r\nBig Sky Country is also whiskey-drinking country. While many locals would gladly hoist a Montana-made whiskey, few distilleries in the state have been open long enough to meet that demand.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWith most Montana distilleries open less than a decade, \u201cthat\u2019s not a lot of time to make a great whiskey,\u201d says Robins. \u201cIt takes about that much time to let it sit in the barrel before it\u2019s ready to go.\u201d Some whiskey-makers have released excellent whiskey in very small batches, while others focus on flavored whiskeys that make the most of relatively young stock.\r\n\r\nWhile Montana\u2019s whiskeys take their time resting in the barrel, producers are making a variety of other worthy spirits, many spotlighting regional ingredients. Huckleberries, a fruit with a sweet-tart flavor some liken to blueberries or blackberries, grow wild around Montana\u2019s mountains and forests. Willie\u2019s Distillery is noted for its huckleberry liqueur, while Bozeman Spirits produces a huckleberry-flavored vodka.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAnother, more surprising local crop? Wormwood, a central component used to make absinthe.\r\n\r\nYes, the same plant used to make the green stuff in France and elsewhere also grows in Montana. Up north, Whitefish\u2019s Glacier Distilling is the only distillery in the state to make absinthe with Montana wormwood.\r\n\r\nAlthough the state\u2019s distilleries have plenty of hurdles to jump, that hasn\u2019t dampened their creativity. \u201cThey\u2019re trying to make the best they can make, because they can only make a small amount of it,\u201d says Robins. \u201cIt\u2019s to our benefit, because we don\u2019t have to settle for something that\u2019s sub-par or mass-produced.\u201d\r\n\r\nMany of the following distilleries have limited quantities available, and their bottles can be hard to score out of state. Here are seven producers to learn more about.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBozeman Spirits: One of the older Montana distilleries, founded in 2014, Bozeman makes what Robins lauds as \u201ca really clean vodka,\u201d (Montana Cold Spring Vodka) as well as flavored variations like lemon and huckleberry.\r\n\r\nDry Hills Distillery: Also located in Bozeman, this is the distillery arm of a fifth-generation farm. Look for Hollowtop Potato Vodka, made from misshapen potatoes grown on the farm that would otherwise go to waste, and Montana Bonded Wheat Whiskey, the state\u2019s first bottled-in-bond whiskey.\r\n\r\nGlacier Distilling: Located at the foot of Glacier National Park, this distillery draws inspiration from local produce and botanicals, which are used in an astonishing array of brandies, gins and more. Of particular note are the Trail of the Cedars Absinthe, made with Montana wormwood, and Fireweed, a Bourbon flavored with brandy made from Flathead Lake cherries.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHeadframe Spirits: Robins praises Orphan Girl Bourbon Cream Liqueur made at this Butte distillery. It\u2019s named for the Orphan Girl Mine, a zinc and silver mine that operated in Butte from 1875 through the 1950s, and in 1965 became the site of the World Museum of Mining. A portion of proceeds from each bottle sold benefits the museum.\r\n\r\nWhistling Andy Distillery: While this Bigfork distillery is known for turning Montana-grown grains into whiskey, their white rum and gin, including some creative flavors, are also worth a pour.\r\n\r\nWildrye Distilling: This Bozeman distillery showcases Montana-grown ingredients in its spirits, including its namesake rye whiskey. Robins remarks that Wildrye\u2019s corn-based vodka as \u201cthe smoothest I\u2019ve ever had,\u201d and uses it as the well vodka at his bar.\r\n\r\nWillie\u2019s Distillery: Not far from Yellowstone National Park, Willie\u2019s is known for its liqueurs, including a huckleberry cream liqueur, a wild-grown chokecherry liqueur and a coffee cream liqueur inspired by the tradition of \u201ccowboy coffee\u201d brewed over an open fire.