Shutdown could slow flow of new craft beer

Hangar 24 Double Betty

Hangar 24 Double Betty

"If we wanted to release that out to say OH or New Jersey or Maryland or Pennsylvania we can't get that approved right now to do that", he tells WRDE.

21, the TTB had received 192,279 label applications since the start of 2018. He shows it off as we toured the brewery's basement. "So you won't be able to release that beer right now".

KIRWAN: But Katchever can't bottle more than 500 cases of beer until his label gets approved by the bureau.

Like many government agencies, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau or TTB is closed, making it impossible for breweries, wineries and distilleries to get approval on certain products. I think about all the spring releases that are going to be coming out soon.

The TTB doesn't just handle beer, it oversees all alcohol, including wine.

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

Head Brewers like Snyder can still submit their labels to the TTB; there just aren't any employees there to review or approve them. The agency will be facing a huge backlog of applications. "So the opportunity cost of what's sitting in that tank, we're not able to send it out and we're not able to fill that tank back up with another beer". Craig Purser heads the National Beer Wholesalers Association and says large beer makers in the USA are also anxious about the bureau being furloughed.

Colorado breweries are missing out on millions of dollars in out-of-state sales because of the government shutdown. "[It] doesn't matter what the size of the company is; when nobody's answering the phone, the work stops and it really puts the beer industry at a disadvantage", Purser said. It really makes it very hard.

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. For NPR News, I'm Hope Kirwan in La Crosse.