Up until now this whole government shutdown really didn’t have any direct impact on me, so it has been a great circus act that I idly sat by and watched on TV and listened to on NPR. I’m not planning to go to any national parks, I’m not trying to get a passport, I’m not a federal government worker nor am I really impacted in any direct way by it, until now. This shutdown has closed the The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau which doesn’t have an impact on existing beer in the market but has a direct impact on future sales and creation of new beer.
What does that mean? Craft brewers pride themselves in being ever inventive and creative, constantly brewing new beers and pushing the limits of beers to satisfy our growing craft beer market. Whenever a new beer is pushed to the market from a brewery they must submit that beer to The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which in turn grants the brewery the permission to sell that beer. So that means all beers currently in the market will remain untouched but new beers that brewers have ready to go and are just waiting on approval from must sit in the brewery and wait.
Ok so the shutdown will be over soon right? Well maybe. When the shutdown is over the backlog of applications will be so tremendous that the approval time will be extended. On average, there is a 75 day waiting period for application approvals, how long will that be once they are back open and inundated with applications? Only time will tell.