The federal government shutdown is affecting lots of different groups of Americans. One of the lesser publicized groups is craft brewers. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TBB, is part of the Treasury department. The agency handles approvals for new breweries, bottling, labeling and new recipes. For the Coachella Valley Brewing Company, the shutdown's kept them from taking their beers from the tasting room to the shelves of super markets. "We're probably looking at 30 days before we can fire up our bottling line which is sitting idle right now, waiting to be used," said Chris Anderson.
The shutdown is also keeping breweries from distributing new seasonal beers, the lifeblood for places like CVB. "Anytime you use an unorthodox ingredient like an orange or a tangelo, or even a date, it has to be submitted for formulation approval by the federal government," said Anderson. "Well, that operation got shut down."
The group most affected by the TBB's temporary closure are people who are trying to open new breweries. "It might've taken 45 to 60 days, but they were easy to deal with," said Scott Stokes from the La Quinta Brewing Company. "But, since the shutdown, nothing's happening with the approval of any breweries."
Stokes plans to open his brewery next month. He feels lucky because he got his approvals before the shutdown. Otherwise, he'd have to wait with other beer entrepreneurs. "Anytime something like this comes into play, it certainly throws a wrench into things, but you know, it's 30 days," said Stokes. "It is what it is, we'll get past it."
Beer enthusiasts everywhere hope its only thirty days, because any longer and it could leave the industry with a real hangover.