The ongoing government shutdown is having a sobering effect on Asheville’s craft brewing scene. The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is closed, which means it’s not processing paperwork such as permits for new breweries to open. It also means the approval for new labels is stalled, as are other approvals.
Blue Kudzu Sake, Asheville’s new sake brewery, held its grand opening on Tuesday but it has yet to receive the federal permits it needs to brew sake. It’s shiny new brewing tanks can’t be put to use until it gets that paperwork.
At pressherald.com, The Beer Babe notes other effects of the government shutdown on the craft brewing industry, including the slowed or stalled release of new seasonal beers:
No new brewery paperwork will be processed, no additional labels or formulas will be approved. Breweries in planning waiting to hear back from the TTB will wait longer until the shutdown ends – a process that was already slowed by staffing cuts due to sequestration, and the staggering number of breweries in planning. Other breweries waiting on label or formula approvals for their beer will face the potential of the delays resulting in their beer languishing on a shelf – ready to drink but not allowed to be sold.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is also affected, which means that any brewers or beer-related businesses seeking or following up on loan paperwork will be on hold as well. the SBA.gov website also reports that “the agency may not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted” – so questions that many start-up breweries have may go unanswered. Also, startups or breweries planning expansions may have to delay construction, equipment ordering, or other purchases until loans continue to be disbursed.
More as I get it.
Anne Fitten Glenn, spokeswoman for Oskar Blues in Brevard, says the government shutdown has little effect on the operation there. All the basic permits are in place, and they do few one-offs that require new-label approval.
The owners of Twin Leaf Brewing, a new brewery in the works on Asheville’s South Slope, however, are bemoaning the delay. From Twin Leaf Brewery on Twitter:
@Ashevegas Yep, #govtshutdown is adding to the already long wait for federal brewery permitting. Sucks major balls.