What does the government shutdown mean for your seasonal brews?

Local News

The depth of the government shutdown is hitting breweries around the nation and in Central New York.

With possibly the longest government shutdown in history brewing, its depth is hitting the shelves at Empire Brewing Company. 

“You can’t even print a label,” said the Founder of Empire Brewing Co., David Katleski.

So what is on tap for Empire? Well, you won’t find anything new.

“In order for you to produce a beer in the United States, you have to have a federal brand label registration from the Trade Tax Bureau,” said Katleski.

The TTB gets around 3,000 label requests a day, but with federal workers furloughed, those requests are piling up.

Katleski says it’s preventing breweries from making anything new, or getting labels registered to pack the brew.

“So every single day that goes by is going to be a backlog of 3,000 times how many days,” he said.

You’ll still be able to get your hands on your favorite seasonal beers like Empire’s Sweet Fire, but as for those seasonal brews you haven’t even heard of yet, it might not be until 2020 before they hit the bottling line.

“There’s a Belgian triple that we make, we have not made it since 1994,” said Katleski. “We’re going to relaunch it, we’ve never put it in a bottle before.”

But if the shutdown continues, that Subterranean Ale won’t be making its way into bottles or on the shelves come spring-time, nor will a special summer brew. 

For now, we’ll just have to wait and see how long the shutdown showdown lasts. In the meantime, breweries are at a standstill for new product. 

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