Craft beers 'tapped' by government shutdown
There's a new threat that's holding up the release of seasonal craft beer. There's no shortage of ingredients, creativity or demand. You can blame the government shutdown.
"New beers are coming out left and right, and we're waiting on approval for a couple of them now," said Geoff Dale of Three Heads Brewing.
The Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) must approve labels on any new beer before it can be sold.
"The TTB is not approving any submissions right now because they're not active with the government shutdown," said Chris Prince, co-owner of WhichCraft Brew.
In his brewing room, tank #1 is filled with a new coffee/dark beer concoction soon to be known as Jamaican Me Wanna Nut Beer. But its paperwork is being held up in the shutdown.
"The craft beer drinker, generally speaking, does not like to drink the same thing twice. We're aware of that and are constantly doing something different," said Prince.
At Three Heads, the plans for the winter brews began six months ago with the purchase of ingredients. Even if the shutdown ended tomorrow, they would be six weeks behind schedule.
"We don't want something that was supposed to be out in January to come out in April. You go for a bigger, heartier beer in winter," said Dale, who is also known as "Minister of Mayhem" at the brewery.
TTB approved 192,000 new labels last year. As the shutdown approaches three weeks, some 11,000 applications are piling up.
For now, Three Heads will rely on their flagship brand "The Kind."
"It hasn't gotten to a critical point yet, but it's enough that you're noticing and trying to adjust the schedule and having two six-month schedules," said Dale.
Asked if he's thought about sending President Trump some beer, Dale replied, "He doesn't drink." He then laughed, "If he did, I'd sure send him some."
They have a "Plan A" and a "Plan B" - but have nixed a "Plan C."
"We just want this fixed and want to be able to make some fun beers," said Dale.