This script is from the second season of Beer Notes, which you can listen to at beernotes.org.
If you are waiting for a new beer release or want that new brewery down the street to open, you may have to wait for months.
This week on Beer Notes, we’re discussing the effect of a U.S. government shutdown on the craft beer industry.
The craft brewers and the government work hand in hand during normal operations.
Licenses for new breweries and labels for beer bottles and cans are approved by the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB. According to TTB’s website, they “ensure that alcohol products are created, labeled, and marketed in accordance with Federal laws and regulations.” The TTB was one of the departments shut down on December 22, 2018.
While breweries can continue to sell beer out of their taprooms and distribute beers with already-approved labels, new beers in most states can’t be distributed until their labels are approved by TTB.
If you love seasonal beers or are waiting for a new brewery to open, you may have to wait months, even after the government opens back up for business because the longer a shutdown lasts, the bigger the backlog the TTB has to sort through when the government is open again.
“A big part of it will be all the plans that brewers have for 2019 will get thrown out the window,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association.
The consequences of a U.S. government shutdown are enormous, and until all departments are up and running and have cleared any backlog of paperwork, 31.5 % of women and 68.5% of men who drink craft beer will have to forego our love of new beer flavors and settle for the tried and true, all the while hoping that any breweries planning to open soon can make it until the government is open for business again.
For Beer Notes, this is Ann McGinnis Hillyer.