24 Aug 2019
August 24, 2019
Craig is often pegged as a place that’s behind the times. We have poor cell service, no gas station, and most of our streets are dirt. Admittedly, Craig can be a little slow and relaxed compared to other parts of the country. This is part of the town’s charm for many of our frequent visitors, and yes, it makes Craig feel like it’s a few decades behind the curve, but there’s another part of life in Craig that is borderline medieval—we’ve got an economy predicated on old school bartering.
There exists here in Craig a barter economy that forgoes cash or credit for a time-honored (and far more delicious) currency: beer. Beer is the currency on the market for everything from boat washes to fly exchanges. If I had a dollar for every six pack I’ve received for washing a boat, I could stop washing boats. I’ve seen guides huddle together on the banks with aluminum cans and fly pucks being passed around the circle like traders on the NYSE. One guide I know of carries even a few beers with him on the river at all times to secure factually accurate fly info from other guides. Not saying that you can’t get by with a loose 20 in your pocket, but to really get into the underground economy here you’d best have a cooler full of beer. Preferably (at least for us) one with Lewis & Clark Brewery’s Prickly Pear Pale Ale or the Single Malt IPA from the local Blackfoot Brewery.*
*If anyone from Lewis and Clark or Blackfoot Brewery reads this and has extra beer, our address is 311 Bridge St in Craig MT. Zip code, if you’re curious, is 59648.