Local breweries can't release new brews during government shutdown
Local breweries are worried about distributing their beers because the federal agency that approves labels for new brews or changes in recipes is shut down.
The U.S. government is entering the longest shutdown in modern political history. As of today, Jan. 12, at 21 days, it is tied with the shutdown in 1995-96.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which approves labels for breweries, stated on its website it is closed "due to the lapse in government funding." It also said employees are not allowed to report to work.
Jacob Hamilton, head brewer at Rhombus Guys Brewery, said his brewery can't distribute anything new outside of the taproom until the TTB approves their labels.
If a brewery wants to distribute legally, they must get every label approved by the TTB. If a recipe changes, a new label must be made and submitted to the federal agency.
"However long this goes, it will probably affect a lot of people," Hamilton said.
Rhombus Guys has submitted labels for approval, he said. They're planning on releasing new beer in the spring.
"We like to get them approved far in advance because we'll need to print them, but depending on how long the TTB is closed, it could really set us back," Hamilton said.
The TTB was unable to be reached for comment. The agency is unable to respond to phone calls or emails, a spokesperson's voicemail said.
Ryan Evenson, co-owner of Revelation Ale Works in Hallock, Minn., said the shutdown is not affecting the brewery now, but it could in the future.
"It's not affecting us at all that we can tell," Evenson said. "We haven't submitted any new labels for approval lately, but we plan to soon, so it definitely could affect us."