I’m not trying to get political, I blame both parties for this clusterfucktastrophy.
At midnight Monday night, September 30th, 2013 the United States federal government began to shut down due to a failure of Congress to pass a budget. Now you ask what does that have to do with beer?
A small part of the federal government but a key part of the beer industry (craft or otherwise) is the Tax and Trade Bureau (shortened to TTB). The quick background is that all breweries have to get approval from the TTB before opening their brewery or before releasing a new beer. The TTB approves all labels and any interesting formulations, like adding shiitake mushrooms to your brew. For more background go read my earlier post about the TTB.
The Treasury department (which the TTB is part of) has listed what departments it’s going to be shutting down or reducing to save money so other, more crucial, parts can keep running. The TTB isn’t being totally shut down as it collect taxes, god forbid they stop collecting taxes even if we get nothing in return for them. However, all label, formula, and new brewery approval is ceasing. Here’s exactly what the Treasury said:
TTB would halt its regulatory functions, non-criminal investigative activities and audit functions. However, TTB would ensure that all tax remittances are processed because these functions are deemed necessary for safety and protection of property.
Now you may be asking what effect does this have on Cincinnati? I’ll leave that to Blank Slate Brewing Company’s Scott LaFollette:
Ok, the first thing, 3 new beers from Blank Slate? Very exciting stuff!
You can see what this means to the industry as a whole. No new beers from any brewery – so small breweries won’t be able to keep innovating – and no new brewery approvals means the insane growth of new breweries hasn’t had the brakes put on it as much as the growth has slammed into a concrete wall and came to a complete and abrupt stop.
Hopefully Congress can get it’s act together and compromise on a budget to get the TTB back into action… oh, and the TTB has been understaffed for months and will likely have a massive backlog of approvals (like Blank Slate’s) to dig through so we shouldn’t be expecting too many new beers or breweries anytime soon.