As the year and a decade draws to a close, I can safely attest that these past 10 years are the most significant in my life. Opening the 2010 decade, I began my telemark ski race career and the sport introduced me to my husband, Cole. Two years later, after many bent-knee turns and hikes in Glacier, we married. We also set out to start a brewery, and during our engagement purchased the old brick building on Kalispell’s Main Street and began what would be a very long process of converting the Hendricksen Motors building into the city’s first downtown taproom and brewery since the 1950s. The renovation process took two years, and there were times when we didn’t know if our brewery would ever open. It certainly was a test of our young marriage as we worked tirelessly on the building itself – Cole, often logging 16-hour days on the construction, and me researching, drafting employee handbooks, creating our website and social media handles, all while trying not to worry, fret, and worry some more.
As you know, the brewery did finally open and we’re still married (but we’ll never renovate anything ever again). A year after Kalispell Brewing Company was born, we welcomed a son into our family. The decade wasn’t filled with a constant flood of celebrations. It was also a sorrowful time with the tragic death of Cole’s brother, and we still miss Nigel dearly. My stepfather died after years of suffering from multiple system atrophy disease, and we also lost a beloved friend in an avalanche. These heartaches certainly punctuate the decade, and we’re still learning how to navigate grief and loss.
In 2016, I decided that it made sense with a 15-month-old to go back to graduate school in addition to running a brewery. It was a wild ride and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my husband and my mom, who moved here after Vince died. I wouldn’t have traded the experience for the world, and my graduation fulfilled a lifelong dream of obtaining my master’s degree in English literature. I’m still fully enamored with literature and literary studies and feel incredibly lucky that I get to work in beer and read really good books.
While I no longer race anymore, and have switched from telemark to alpine skis, I’ve still found that my connection to the mountains burns ever brighter as I’ve grown and aged. Introducing my son to nature, floating rivers and camping along mountain lakes is one of the greatest gifts I’ve given and, truly, received.
Speaking of gifts: the 2010 decade ends with the greatest of welcomings. On December 7, our daughter was born. I cannot think of a more perfect way to end the year, and to say hello to what lies ahead for me and my family. I am thankful, grateful, and at this moment, exhausted. Suffice to say, it’s all I’ve ever wanted.
From my family to yours, the happiest of holidays.
Maggie Doherty is the owner of Kalispell Brewing Company on Main Street.
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