The American government shutdown is threatening to halt new beer releases from breweries across the US.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approves labels and, in some cases, recipes for new concoctions of beer, wine, and spirits. The federal agency has been closed as a result of the shutdown, triggered by US President Donald Trump's insistence that US legislators approve funding for a border fence he promised Mexico would pay for.
Brooklyn, New York-based Interboro Spirits and Ales is already feeling the impact of the agency's closure.
"We release new beers every other week," said Laura Dierks, CEO and founder of Interboro. "Right now, we're looking at not being to sell certain beer in February because of this."
Dierks can continue selling new beers within New York state, but in order to sell across state lines, she needs federal approval.
"We're dependent on that revenue," she said.
The shutdown is also delaying the permitting process for breweries that have applied to open new locations.
Even if the shutdown ends soon, delays could persist for weeks.
"It's almost certain there will be a backlog when the shutdown ends," said Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers' Association, a trade group representing breweries.
Breweries can continue submitting their requests for approval on new labels, recipes, and locations during the shutdown. But none of them will be processed until the shutdown ends.
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