Shutdown A Buzzkill For Breweries

Posted at: 10/09/2013 8:09 PM
Updated at: 10/10/2013 12:14 PM
By: Laurie Stribling

It's no secret craft brew is big in Duluth, but what you may not know is the government shutdown has become a buzzkill for breweries.

"It can't go on forever," Bent Paddle Brewing Co. CEO Bryon Tonnis said. "That's what I keep trying to tell myself."

Tonnis said new brews need federally-approved labeling in order to hit the shelf. The process usually takes months and is now put on hold.

"We do have a list of beers we want to release in the next couple months," Tonnis said. "We may have to put back releasing those beers for awhile while this is going on."

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approves new breweries, recipes and labels. Since the the government is shut down, Tonnis said applications aren't getting approval.

While this will delay new suds, Tonnis said it could be worse.

"I think the biggest effect in the brewing industry is going to be new breweries that are in the process of starting up right now," Tonnis said. "You have to go through some pretty extensive federal approvals."

Over at Canal Park Brewing Company, the shutdown hangover isn't so bad.

"The shutdown, for a small brewery, isn't huge unless it runs on," Brewmaster Badger Colish said.

Colish said since they aren't a production brewery, the delay for labeling doesn't play a factor. Colish still has a message for Congress.

"Come on, people need beer," Colish said. "Help them out, compromise."

While the government is closed, work is piling up. Wait times for approvals may take even longer once the government is up and running.

Applications can already take up to 75 days for approval.

(Copyright 2013 WDIO-TV, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)