Though the partial government shutdown has come to an end for now, Baton Rouge breweries and distilleries say they expect to feel the impact for months, 225 reports.
The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is in charge of, among other things, approving labels on new alcoholic beverages and granting licensing to new breweries. Because many Louisiana companies sell outside of the state, most rely on it for new releases.
With the agency closed during the 35-day shutdown, brewers and distillers were left in a bind. Many had new releases ready to go—but no approval to sell them.
While the office is up and running again, the lengthy hiatus means a logjam of applications for licenses and labeling.
For Southern Craft Brewing Company, that means canceling a release altogether.
“We actually had three new beers coming up: a Mardi Gras release beer and then two more later in the spring,” says owner Joe Picou. “We are going to try and wait on the two others, but we won’t be able to do the Mardi Gras one now.”
Johnny Ver Planck, owner of distillery Three Roll Estate (formerly known as Cane Lane Distilling Co.) had four products prepared for a spring release. Instead, he says he expects a delay of three to four months before his labels are approved—even though the process would normally only take a few days. He says he can only hope the licenses are approved in time for late summer.