Microbreweries can't sell new beer due to shutdown

Microbreweries cannot sell their new beers due to the fact the government office they rely on to approve their labels is closed.
October 9, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
As we approach Day 10 of the federal government shutdown, we're learning of another business affected. Microbreweries and beer makers cannot bottle new brew without government approval. ABC7 News looked at what this means for one North Bay company.

A chocolate hazelnut porter is one of Heretic Brewing Company's latest craft beers. The only problem is you can't buy a bottle of it in stores.

"Until we get that label approval, we won't be to put out any new beers on shelves at stores," said Maria Fulmer from the Heretic Brewing Company.

The government shutdown has closed a little known federal agency that approves new beer labels for the market. It's the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

"We're always trying to create new things for people to try," said Fulmer.

The shutdown is impacting mostly craft brewers who constantly put out quirky flavors and seasonal beers for self-proclaimed "beer geeks" like Remy Corner of Suisun City. He said, "It's nice to have a change with beer, something that has flavor and character to it."

What really burns these breweries is that the agency is still collecting permit taxes from them.

"...Even though we're not allowed to put out our new products, until the federal government is back in its own business," said Fulmer, who added it was a very irritating situation.

This is a crucial time for the Heretic Brewing Company because they're in the midst of expanding from 1,600 to 3,000 barrels a year. But without an approved label, they can't sell more beer. It's just another economic side effect caused by the government shutdown.