Shutdown impacting craft brewers

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – The government shutdown has caused headaches in numerous areas of American life – from national parks to museums.

The shutdown has affected the obscure Federal agency the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau – the TTB. And that, in turn, is creating problems for the craft-brewing industry, including the Empire Brewing Company.

The TTB not only approves breweries, but each new recipe and formula – which is impacting seasonal beers, craft brewers’ single biggest money maker.

“Some places will do a Christmas themed ale. If you can’t get that out the beer may have to sit around until either it’s past its prime as far as the beer goes or the season is over. In January people don’t necessarily think to have a pumpkin beer, this time of year people really want a pumpkin beer,” said Empire Brewing Company’s director of intellectual properties, Amanda Spear.

Empire is at the beginning stage with the agency to look over formulas for about seven of their different beers, so they can eventually make labels for them once they start bottling beer.

“I think it’s going to slow down the process once everything is back up and running because they’re going to have a lot to deal with and there’s going to be a lot of people with questions who maybe are trying to push things through as well because they’ve been waiting,” Spear said.

Spear said that before the government shutdown, the agency took almost two months to grant approval.

She’s curious to see how much of a delay the backlog created by the shutdown will add to the wait time.

Spear noted that, for Empire, formulas aren’t time sensitive and the shutdown hasn’t impacted day-to-day business, but she said the shutdown has had a financial impact on others in the industry.

Empire Brewing is opening a new brewery in Cazenovia next fall.

Spear says the shutdown isn’t affecting that expansion, where they plan to bottle beer.

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