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Meet Distillery Owner Casey McGowan


Article by Stephanie Hower

Photography by Nathan Satran

The turning point in Casey McGowan’s life came when he made the decision to pursue his passion, launching him onto a path of entrepreneurship. He has never looked back. 

“I pulled the trigger and decided to start Trailhead Spirits,” he says. "If you feel like there's something out there that you're supposed to be doing—if you have a passion for it—then stop wishing and just do it.”

Hailing from Highwood, a farming community in the north-central region of Montana, Casey grew up in the proverbial small town, complete with a house at the end of an old, dirt road. He came to Billings 20 years ago for his first job after college but maintains a deep appreciation for the quiet nature of his sleepy hometown. His dream would be to move to a cabin on a mountain stream where he could live “off the grid.”

“The world has become so busy with nonsense,” Casey reflects. “I am thankful to live in Montana and have the ability to easily escape to the wilderness.”

He is especially fond of the mountains.

“They call to my soul. I enjoy the solitude of a mountain lake and the streams along the trail to get there.” 

His love for nature also helps him to recollect his thoughts and unwind.

“I am happiest when I am floating a river. To some, it’s just water … to me, it’s where I regain my sanity.”

A visionary to those who know him, Casey possesses a talent for developing and carrying out big ideas. His innovative spirit pushes the company to thrive and grow.

“At Trailhead, we manufacture and distribute award-winning spirits with grain sourced from my family farm,” he explains. “Additionally, we specialize in creating craft cocktails available in our new tasting room.”

If faced with a tense situation, he believes in the power of a good, self-deprecating joke. 

“I would likely make fun of myself. There are plenty of stories to tell … but I am not sure many of them would be appropriate to put in print,” he quips. 

A favorite quote of Casey’s circles back to his life-altering decision to start a business, sharing a similar sentiment to his own words from earlier. 

You only get one life, so make it count. Make it mean something. Make it yours."

He adds, “It is just a simple reminder that life is too short, and you are in control of your life. Live happy, and be yourself.” 

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