Partial Government Shutdown Impacting Some Craft Breweries

New York Times writer Nick Corasaniti reported last week that, “The locked doors of federal agencies in Washington are leading to locked taps and empty vats at craft breweries around the country.

“One such scene unfolds in an 11,000-square-foot warehouse in northern New Jersey, where the usual low hum and screeching hiss of an active brewhouse and the musty stench of fermentation wafting outside are absent. Instead, there is just the echo of passing conversation and stale cold air.

The partial government shutdown has idled a division of the Treasury Department that regulates manufacturers of craft beer, dealing a blow to a booming industry and disappointing discerning drinkers.

At Alementary Brewing in Hackensack, the owners cannot get federal approval to begin brewing in their warehouse space — they operate a smaller brewhouse across the street — since their application for the new location is sitting on empty desks. They nervously wait each day as the bills and overhead from their $1 million investment to ramp up their production and distribution begin to pile up.”

The Times article noted that, “But a distillation of the shutdown’s far-reaching consequences can be seen in the surging $76 billion craft beer industry, which is driven by many smaller operations. The industry is regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which controls craft breweries mainly in two ways: approving any new brewery equipment and approving labels on new lines of beer.”

Mr. Corasaniti added that, “With the alcohol bureau shut down, breweries across the country are facing similar problems as Alementary is, throwing their business plans and survival into question.”

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