Since the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is not running under the government shutdown, there is no one available to process brewery notices (which allow new breweries to open) or grant COLAS (Certificates of Label Approval) that allow breweries to produce new beers and ship them across state lines. This leaves many breweries slated to open at the end of this year stagnant, and, most likely, losing money.
The Associated Press profiled one young brewer who is extremely frustrated by the halt in operations. Mike Brenner hoped to open his Milwaukee brewery in December, but the way things are going, he doubts his paperwork will be processed in time. He estimates his losses are around $8,000 a month, and is aggravated that issues in DC affect his small business in Milwaukee,. Brenner reminds us that “Even in a bad economy, people drink beer.” Truth.
New York’s own Blind Bat Brewery worries that a backlog of label approvals could halt their plans to release the seasonal brown ales they had planned to brew for the winter.
Though many breweries are struggling, some aim to show the government workers just how important they are. Maryland’s Flying Dog and Georgia’s Sweetwater both offer free tours to show appreciation to those who allow their businesses to run.
So, c’mon government, get it together! Life, liberty, and the pursuit of craft beers, right?