As we told you back on the first day of the federal shutdown, the impasse on Capitol Hill has put the kibosh on federal alcohol licensing activities, including permits for new facilities and approval of new labels. That implies all kinds problems for brewers, winemakers, distillers and cideries, from stalling long–planned openings and expansions, such as Petaluma’s HenHouse Brewing, which is afraid it’s pending move may be blocked by the shutdown, to the delay of new products, including the lucrative seasonal beers that come out in the fall and around Christmas.
Now, the Associated Press is bringing this news to the wider public (you mean not everyone reads Beer Country? Sad, but true), pointing out that this is kind of a big deal for the booming craft beer business. For example:
Bryan Simpson, a spokesman for New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colo., said his brewery has three recipes and five
new labels awaiting approval. The company is especially worried that the release of its new spring label, Spring Blonde,
could get pushed back. More delays might force New Belgium to shell out extra money to speed up the label printing and rush the
beer to market, he said.
“Everybody is frustrated in general,” Simpson said. “The whole way this has played out has been disappointing for the
Brewers Association Director Paul Gatza tells the AP that applications take so long to process that anyone who hadn’t filed paperwork for new beers by mid-August is now stuck in limbo.
Can’t live without your seasonal beers? Now is the time to call your congressman.
– Sean Scully