Jim Willett is a lot of things, and he has a lot to say. The three things he’s most quick to mention, however, are his love of democracy, his pride in his brand new truck, and his loyalty to Kalispell Brewing Company.

We wanted to take this moment to thank Jim for being Jim, and to spread the word about how great he is. You see, Jim’s moving. He was offered a deal he couldn’t refuse and will be heading to southern California later this month. Jim and his beloved truck will be leaving us. We’re sure he’ll be taking it with him somehow, whether he has to drive it down to California himself, or even if he has to make use of a company like Cars Arrive Auto Relocation (link here) to drive his truck down to him after he moves.

We’ll miss him, and his truck, terribly, not just because he brings our staff treats from Ceres at least once a week (although that’s pretty great), but because he is a favorite customer and friend, and is truly a part of the KBC family.

I sat down with Jim to ask him a few questions, about life, about his politics, but mostly we ended up having a great conversation about the things that are important to him: Friends, community, fairness, and good beer.

How did you end up in Montana?

I moved to Montana in 1978 from the Los Angeles basin in southern California. When I got here there were less than 600,000 people in the whole state, and drinking a couple of beers on the ride home from work was standard. I left a couple times because it turns out you can’t eat the scenery…I had some good jobs and some very bad jobs that didn’t quite stick.

What brought you here?

I moved here for the four seasons. There’s no place in California south of San Fransisco that has all four seasons, just a short spring, summer, and a bit of winter. They used to get a lot of snow in the mountains there, but not in the last 25 years or so. I also moved to Montana for the fly fishing and the hiking. The only good thing about California is it doesn’t have grizzly bears.

You were in the military, right?

Yes…U.S. Army for 7 years. I was in Vietnam, on the ground, for 32 1/2 months. Vietnam affected all of us. When I got home in February of 1970 I was young, so I hit the ground running. It wasn’t until 1985 that I finally looked in the mirror and noticed that Vietnam had affected me.

What drew you to KBC? Why are we the lucky ones?

One word: Therapy. There’s no TV’s, the ambience is great, it’s wonderful! A lot of friends come to KBC regularly… on both sides of the political spectrum. We don’t talk politics. We do argue sometimes, but a bar is not a good place to talk politics, even though I love that. And usually there’s some great classical Western music playing. I wouldn’t mind hearing more rock and roll, though.

Could you leave us with some good advice?

Never ever install TVs at KBC. Don’t get rid of the popcorn. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others.

I think it goes without saying that Jim did have a lot more to say. This was just a short clip of a really great conversation that we had over a Demersville Dark Schwarzbier. I’m willing to bet that’s what most of you will miss about Jim. His willingness to always speak his mind, and his passion for fairness and connection. Jim, we’ll miss you!

To life, Cheers!