Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Government shutdown impacts brewery business

Government shutdown impacts brewery business

Across town at Zipline Brewery, co-founder Tom Wilmoth says he's usually ahead of the game when it comes to getting labels approved but as the shutdown drags on, he's feeling the effects as well.

Like many government agencies, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau or TTB is closed, making it impossible for breweries, wineries and distilleries to get approval on certain products. Saturday begins the fourth week of the government shutdown. Craig Purser heads the National Beer Wholesalers Association and says large beer makers in the US are also anxious about the bureau being furloughed.

"We're always coming out with new brands and that's what the consumer wants", said Hooker president Curt Cameron.

"We can still roll out the beer in draft form", Katchever said. It received more than 192,000 label applications in 2018. That's a problem for beermakers like Joe Katchever, owner and brewmaster of Pearl Street Brewery in La Crosse, Wis. "So, that backlog is going to take that two-to-four week process and probably make it four-to-eight weeks or maybe even longer depending on how long it takes for these guys to get back to work".

Now only about a quarter of the state's craft breweries ship beer out of state.

"I still kind of feel worse for the people who actually work for the TTB that are considered non essential and all of a sudden they don't have jobs right now", said Snyder.

The TTB doesn't just handle beer, it oversees all alcohol, including wine. I think about all the spring releases that are going to be coming out soon.

While they wait, Wilmoth says he's staying positive.

This rule only applies to breweries when shipping beer outside the state, and the both breweries say they still plan to have new beers on tap, in their beer halls, in order to not waste any product. Otherwise, the beer might just sit in the tanks.

That's because a crucial seal of approval in the production process of new beers can not happen right now. all thanks to the government shutdown.

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