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The government shutdown breaks the trouble for America's artisans for beer-making

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By Ethan Sacks

There are problems with brewing in the craft industry over the government's suspension.

As the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been elevated by the partial government cessation, the brewers have not been able to obtain the necessary approvals from the Agency's tax and trade agency ̵

1; from permits for new plants to new labels on cans.

In a business that relies on placing and marketing new bees regularly to quench its customers' expectations of novelty, these delays can be economically devastating.

"It's really the question mark that's scary, because we don't have that purpose in mind," Mariah Scanlon, Smuttlab's trademark manager, a line from the Smuttynose Brewing Company in Hampton, New Hampshire, NBC News said.

"You cannot develop a contingency strategy without knowing how long [the shutdown] will continue."

Snackident of Smuttlabs, a division of Smuttynose. Courtesy Smuttynose

To send beer over state lines, breweries need certificates of label approvals from ATF's trading agency for any new packaging or beer brands. Only last year, the agency treated 34,166 label applications for malt beverages, averaging 93.6 per day, according to the trade group, the Brewers Association.

Brewers who produce new recipes that fall outside the Bureau's predetermined list also require a form approval.

As a shutdown lingers, a lag of these requests continues to pour, ensuring that the approval delays will extend even after the agency returns to work.

"It's hard to be a small owner and the craft industry is a tough industry to be with," says Rob Burns, co-founder and president of Night Shift Brewing in Everett, Massachusetts.

"The company is really so unpredictable and fragile and Things that are completely out of control can have a big impact on us, says Burns.

"It's not just us who get hurt, it's also retailers and bar owners. I think the damage of this situation will be very difficult to calculate and far-reaching."

Particularly hard hit have been those waiting for treatment of "brewer's messages", permits for new breweries or extensions of existing facilities. The latter has left a bad taste in the mouth of the ownership of the Alementary Brewing Company in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Mediator Michael Roosevelt told MSNBC's Lester Holt on Thursday that the company recently invested $ 1 million in capital equipment and other costs of renting a new facility across the street from the current dockhouse to increase production.

Without official approval, it has become a little more than an anchor threatening to lower the company deep into debt.

"I feel pinched right now because I was expecting approval this month," said Roosevelt. "I spend about a thousand dollars a day between my leasing, utilities and equipment and I expected to see some revenue in the near future. weeks.

"With the shutdown continuing for who knows how long I don't know when to get any revenue, I quickly come to a point where I don't have a thousand dollars a day to keep spending."

evidence of how much the loss in appropriations lowers ATF, a representative told NBC News that the agency is no longer officially responding to the request for comments on any substance not related to national security.

"There is a part of TTB that is still operational: They still collect beverage taxes," says Jen Kimmich, with the owner of Alchemy Beer, the manufacturer of Heady Topper, a favorite of IPA connoisseurs, referring to the Tax and Trade Agency.

While permits are necessary for breweries all over the industry, the bureaucratic downtime beats medium-sized businesses particularly hard, Burns says. Smaller breweries that only serve their beer in taproom or local bars do not need the approvals, and the larger industry titles, like Anheuser- Busch, can easily absorb the financial hit with his signature brands.

Night Shift Brewing in Everett, Massachusetts. Tim Oxton / Night Shift Brewing

"The craft industry accounts for more than 23 percent of US $ 111.4 billion The beer market and small breweries and beekeepers introduce new and seasonal products with less lead time than larger breweries. Delays in conditions are particularly effective. "Brewers Association President and CEO Bob Pease said in a statement.

Many of the brewers affected have been forced to improvise.

Cape May Brewing Co. had drafted plans months ago to introduce a new beer called Eminently Drinkable. at Boston's prestigious Extreme Beer Festival – for the recipe, design and label, shutdown threw the applications into limbo, but the brewery encrypted to come up with a plan B in time.

"We had a labeled approved label for a beer name Ale originally only was supposed to be a placeholder, "says marketing director Alicia Grasso." So now we're going to Boston under that name. "

" We would go to that festival no matter what, "she said.

Jake Heller contributed.

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