The list of people and industries affected by the government shutdown seems to grow longer every day. Now we have to start wondering about the impact on our favorite craft brews.
Because of the government shutdown, which includes The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, new breweries and new beers won't be able to get the necessary permits to open or to sell their beer to the public. The TTB, a little-known part of the Treasury Department, will still be processing taxes from existing permit holders, without working on permits for anything new.
Brewers aren't sure just how much these permit delays will affect their businesses, but needless to say, they aren't happy about it.
Tony Magee, owner of Lagunitas Brewing Co. in California, posted the following tweet about the shutdown:
Fukin Feds are gonna shut down the already incompetent .Gov while hundreds of small breweries , including us, have labels pending. Nice.
— LagunitasT (@lagunitasT) October 1, 2013
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According to the AP, the company was planning on submitting an application for larger bottles for one of its seasonal beers. Now they're unable to move forward with those plans. And at New Belgium Brewing in Colorado, they're waiting on three recipes and five labels to get approved. The company is already worried the shutdown will mean having to push back the release of their spring seasonal brew.
"We have a lot of pieces in play, so when things go sideways, that's a problem," New Belgium spokesman Bryan Simpson told USA Today. "We aren't delayed yet, but there will probably be a backlog. Beers that haven't been approved don't get to market."
Smaller breweries whose labels and recipes don't change from year to year will still be able to produce like normal. But for craft breweries who rely on constantly producing new and seasonal beers, this could have long-lasting effects. It also means a freeze on any new breweries opening up for now.