Government shutdown affecting local breweries

Daniel Fowler
January 14, 2019

That means People's won't be coming out with any new beers until the government re-opens. And that's a problem for beer makers like Joe Katchever.

That's because the federal agency that approves brewery labels is closed, a result of the government shutdown.

That's because workers inside the federal bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms have been furloughed. He owns Pearl Street Brewery in La Crosse, Wis., which is celebrating its 20th anniversary next month. Called Deux Decadence (a nod to two decades), the stout has been aging in bourbon barrels from Kentucky for a year.

"We can still roll out the beer in draft form", Katchever said. "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".

On Friday, Senator Richard Blumenthal is expected to visit Thomas Hooker Brewery for a roundtable discussion to hear concerns about the current issue from brewers across the state.

"It's that first step and if they don't have that they can't move forward", Bailey said.

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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.

"Brewers know that they're going to start at the beginning of the stack and get through them", Gatza said.

PAUL GATZA: Any products that need those government approvals are just kind of frozen on hold. The agency will be facing a huge backlog of applications.

The TTB is one arm of the US government that is crippled right now amidst President Trump's ongoing partial government shutdown, which on Friday tied for the longest shutdown ever at 21 days.

CRAIG PURSER: Doesn't matter what the size of the company is when nobody's answering the phone.

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