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Craft Breweries Feeling Effects Of Government Shutdown

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By Matt Rivers

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–It’s like adding insult to injury, or maybe pouring a foamy pint. Craft breweries are feeling the effects of a government shutdown by not being able to bring new brews to market.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau handles all inspections for new beers brought to market. That includes approving everything from the branding to the information on bottle labels.

“But they’ve been closed for going on 11 days now, so no one is answering their phones,” said Steve German, a vice president at Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown.

The bureau’s workers were furloughed when the government shut down over a week ago, and since then no one has been able to assist the over 2,000 breweries throughout the US.

“For us, we constantly bring out new products because it’s what our customers expect,” said German.  “Craft breweries compete against the larger companies by providing a great selection of delicious beers that are new or updated.”

Victory has over 20 beers on tap at their brew pub, and is already planning on next year’s seasonals.

“This process takes months, or even over a year when you include first developing the recipe and then taking it to getting it federally inspected,” said German.

Even when the government reopens, Victory’s problems won’t be immediately solved.  A backlog of other breweries requesting the same approval could be very long wait times.

“And that makes me nervous about us hitting some of our deadlines with  some of the beers we’ve already announced publicly,” said German.

That could hurt their bottom line, a sting likely felt by breweries across the country.

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