Liqour selections

New owners take over at Evergreen Liquor Store

From freshly turned 21-year-olds to mother-and-pop farmers, people come from all over the valley to patronize the Evergreen Liquor Store.

The store’s new owners, Michelle and Scott Moore, are slowly weaving their way into the company’s culture by learning from seasoned staff.

“We crawl in there, not just jump because it’s a whole different animal than the other businesses we’ve had. We are here to learn,” Scott said.

The couple previously owned Portal Spirits for five years, a rum-making distillery, but sold the business to become owners of Evergreen Liquor. Their efforts with Portal Spirits led them to visit several liquor stores across the state and their interest was piqued.

“We had always talked about how good owning a liquor store would be,” Michelle said.

After seeing an opportunity in Evergreen Liquor, the couple officially took over ownership in June 2022.

Store manager Jared Buck played a key role in the couple’s decision to embrace the new business venture. After 22 years at Evergreen Liquor, Buck knows it all, from start to finish.

“Jared is a very good, genuine person with a lot of heart and spirit and what he’s put in place is working well,” Michelle said. “We want to continue and support our staff. They have big visions and ideas and we want to be on their side to make those little changes here and there.

The late Greg Phillips was the former owner of the Evergreen Liquor Store. In addition to owning the liquor store, he also owned the Evergreen Pharmacy and Post Office.

“Greg was Evergreen’s star child,” Buck said. “He was a member of the Lion’s Club and worked with ABS Softball Fields. Nothing to do with the community, Greg was always first. He was an excellent community leader.

Michelle and Scott take a learn-by-example approach to the store. “Greg wore big shoes and I don’t want to change anything because it was a big hit,” Scott said.

“The store definitely has a following and that’s thanks to Jared and the staff and what Greg has brought to the community,” Michelle added. “Staff know customers by name and they have a special connection.”

As Montana has a government monopoly on all liquor stores in the state, the couple adheres to the many rules and regulations that follow. At this time, the State of Montana has determined that based on Evergreen’s population, only one liquor store is needed.

“The state gave up ownership of the stores over 28 years ago, but they still control every aspect. They set a base price and everything is regulated,” Buck said.

“It’s just another adventure,” smiles Michelle. “Every trip is always a learning experience.”

The selection of nearly 5,000 liquor brands and the experienced staff make Evergreen Liquor unique. The store offers veteran discounts and helps order holsters for special events. Staff can also place special orders for alcohol as long as it is maintained by the state.

Michelle said Evergreen Liquor has remained busy due to the large influx of new residents. “People come from all over the Valley to this store and we appreciate everyone who has supported it for so many years,” she said.

As former distillery owners, Michelle and Scott have a particular interest in promoting and creating displays for local spirits.

“We want to create an environment where we really help local spirits grow more, which is key for me,” Michelle said.

The couple aspire to bring energy and excitement to the store while maintaining community involvement and ultimately supporting and growing alongside staff.

Michelle and Scott agreed, “We just want to get our feet wet. We don’t want to come like a whirlwind and change everything. Our role is simply to help the company grow and be the best it can be.

Evergreen Liquor is located at 2040 US Highway 2 E, Ste A and can be reached at 406-755-1408 or [email protected]