MARYLAND

Government shutdown affects beer production

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FREDERICK, Md. (WJLA) - Beer production could soon be impacted by the government shutdown. The agency that approves federally-regulated beer labels is closed, and now breweries around the country are worried.

Specialty beer has foamed its way into liquid gold, spawning 28 micro-breweries in Maryland alone, like Brewer’s Alley in Frederick.

"Right now this is the largest segment of beer that's growing," says Jim Bauckman, Brewing Co. Marketing manager.

But when the government closed, so did those who provide the labels.

“You can’t get packaging until the government says that label will work,” says Bauckman.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau collects taxes on every beer label and approves every new variety, a 45-day process. 

“We now have to get them to approve the recipe we’re using," Bauckman says.

Brewer’s Alley in Frederick has been cooking up Four Score and Seven for months. The beer would commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, but now the beer and any profits for the brewery have been put on ice.

Steve Acup thought he was opening his pub and brewery just in time for the holidays until he attempted to submit a request to TTB.

“That’s delaying the brew portion of it, the beer portion," he says.

The restaurant can open, but 50 percent of its pub profits are already going flat.

"We need to TTB active for that because we need to be able to say 'here's our new beer. Do you approve it and can we send it out to the market?'" Acup says.

Craft beer generates billions in profits nationwide and traditionally, beer i resilient to recessions. but this shutdown may debunk that theory and hurt the local economies much deeper than expected.

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