A Bright Future for Butte Distillery & Manufacturer

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Shelby Johnsen
(406) 585-2587
Headframe Spirits

Butte has had its share of economic woes in the past, and finding new ways to encourage and develop creative opportunities for job creation is key to a brighter future. Headframe Spirits is a prime example; more than just a distillery, owners John and Courtney McKee began manufacturing and selling the high-capacity stills they use to make their spirits in 2012.

Operating their manufacturing plant out of an old warehouse, the lighting in the facility was sorely lacking—and the fixtures were not only inadequate, but inefficient. The controls for the lights were in another building owned by their landlord, and the utility costs made an impact on their bottom line. It also made the working environment a challenge given the complexity and exacting standards necessary for manufacturing—it was arguably a safety hazard as well for the seven full-time employees at Headframe’s manufacturing division.

Using USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Headframe Spirits updated 60 light fixtures in its building to energy efficient LED fixtures. In addition to the drastically improved working environment for their manufacturing employees, that single action has improved the company’s bottom line by a full percent—and for an early stage operation, that can be the difference between success and failure.

“It’s a brighter, cleaner light and it enables us to operate in better alignment with our values--conservation of resources being one of them,” Courtney said. “As a Certified B Corporation*, we take our corporate citizenship responsibilities very seriously.”

The energy efficient lighting is projected to save Headframe Spirits $1,300 per month in utility costs, in turn allowing the company to save 82,905 kWh per year, which is enough electricity to power seven homes. Upgrading the lighting will not only help Headframe Spirits save money and use less energy, but also better live its values.

*a certification process that confirms a for-profit enterprise of maintaining rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency

Fast Facts

Obligation Amount$7,687
Date of ObligationMay 2017
Congressional DistrictRepresentative Gianforte, At Large
Senator's Last NamesTester and Daines