While you might not notice any particular emptiness on the shelves of the beer aisle, the nation’s craft brewers are facing some major delays due to the federal government shutdown. And if the breweries can’t get new recipes approved or new operations upa nd running, that could lead to a dearth of new offerings next season.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, is a wee little arm of the Treasury Department that’s in charge of approving new breweries, recipes and labels. While its shut down, so is growth in the craft brewing industry, a sector of the beer market that customers have come to rely on for new and seasonal beers regularly, reports the Associated Press.
Existing permit holders will continue to have their taxes processed, but new applications are on hold. That’s a problem for business owners like a man trying to open a craft brewery in Milwaukee by December.
The application for his tasting room is in limbo and so are his plans for four new labels — for a loss of about $8,000 each month his opening is delayed.
“My dream, this is six years in the making, is to open this brewery,” he said. “I’ve been working so hard, and I find all these great investors. And now I can’t get started because people are fighting over this or that in Washington… . This is something people don’t mess around with. Even in a bad economy, people drink beer.”
That is true, friend. Very true. Probably more so when times are bad than when they’re good.
It isn’t just that those who are filing paperwork right this very minute are being left in the lurch, explains the director of the Brewers Association. A lot of brewers would’ve had to have had the foresight that this could happen months ago.
“One could think of this shutdown as basically stopping business indefinitely for anyone who didn’t have certain paperwork in place back in mid-August,” he explained.
If new labels and recipes can’t get approved now, it might prove too costly for some brewers to speed up production of their beers come the spring season — which means fewer new brews for consumers to drink.
And anyone who’s ever known a craft beer lover knows you don’t want to mess with craft beer lovers when it comes to craft beers and their loving of them. It’s scary, is all I’ll say, and often involves hoarhound candy. I’ve said too much.
Craft Brewers Bemoan Shutdown As Seasonal Beer Production Stalls [Associated Press]