This government shutdown is affecting so many things, one of them being breweries.
The federal agency responsible for approving beer can labels, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB, for short), isn’t reviewing submissions at this time and breweries across the country are unable to release new beers… without these labels, the beer is unsellable.
To ship beer over state lines, breweries need certificates of label approvals for any new packaging or beer branding. Last year alone, the government agency processed 34,166 label applications for malt beverages, an average of 93.6 a day, according to the trade group, the Brewers Association.
The TTB typically takes about three weeks to approve labels submitted by breweries, but during the shutdown, their website says, “submissions will not be reviewed or approved until appropriations are enacted.” The agency intends to tackle the backlog “once funding has been restored and the government shutdown is over.”
But by the time that happens, the beer will be stale.
So, to make light of this situation, some breweries are giving their beer away. “One ought not waste good beer” as I always say.
This is both a good and bad thing. Yay to free beer, but boo to the loss of income.
Once the government reopens, the TTB could still be backlogged to the point where we could be feelings these effects long after the reopening. Hopefully, they act fast.
Naturally, this doesn’t affect the beer that has already been labeled, but still, this stinks!