Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Beer lovers and breweries impacted by government shutdown

Beer lovers and breweries impacted by government shutdown

Among the TTB's duties: approving new labels for beer and liquor.

Those are labels you might not think twice about but that need to be approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) before a can goes home with a customer.

There are a number of ways the partial government shutdown is affecting businesses throughout the country.

"Seems silly to us that we can't actually do what we want to do and provide fresh innovated craft beer to the consumer because somebody in Washington didn't get along", Taylor said.

"We are pushed to innovate constantly, and right now we probably have 12 to 15 beers that are on hold because of the shutdown", said Dave Taylor, marketing director for Oskar Blues. That's because the agency that approves brewery labels can't do its job.

But due to the shutdown, new labels aren't getting approved right now. "So you won't be able to release that beer right now".

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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee can't release one of its new brews for the same reason (TTB label approval) as Atlas in D.C. The New York Times reports that Alementary Brewing in Hackensack, N.J., can't get federal approval to begin brewing in its new warehouse because the application is sitting on a desk in a government office.

"It's that first step and if they don't have that they can't move forward", Bailey said.

Hooker won't mass produce the beers it needs approval on just yet.

KIRWAN: So hard that it could easily start to affect the bottom line as breweries across the country worry about what to do with all of their craft beer if they can't bottle and sell it. The agency will be facing a huge backlog of applications.

As the government shutdown nears its third week, local brewers are feeling the brunt. "[It] doesn't matter what the size of the company is; when nobody's answering the phone, the work stops and it really puts the beer industry at a disadvantage", Purser said. For NPR News, I'm Hope Kirwan in La Crosse.

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