Fledgling Baton Rouge brewery impacted by government shutdown

Rally Cap Brewing Company Founder Kevin Whalen says the partial government shutdown—now entering its 34th day—has significantly impacted the Industriplex sports-themed brewery, potentially further pushing back its opening.

Before starting production, brewers need a federal license from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, an arm of the U.S. Department of Treasury, one of the federal agencies affected by the shutdown.

Rally Cap electronically filed its application for the license earlier this month, but Whalen says the only response has been an auto-generated message acknowledging the application was received.

“(Tax and Trade Bureau) will suspend all non-excepted TTB operations, and no personnel will be available to respond to any inquiries, including emails, telephone calls, facsimiles, or other communications,” a message on the agency’s website reads.

The normal turnover for applications is around 85 days, says Whalen, who was expecting to receive the OK to brew in early April.

“We have a lot of insecurity waiting when it will happen,” he says. “They’re still receiving applications during the shutdown. We’re not sure how they’re going to tackle that.”

Meanwhile, $600,000 of renovations continue at Rally Cap’s Industriplex space. Work began in November and is expected to wrap before May.

Whalen is also working on test batches of potential brews, focusing on developing hoppy beers, as well as a handful of hazy and west coast pale ales and IPAs. They have one candidate for a potential flagship, a hazy pale ale called First Pitch Pale Ale, but Whalen says he’ll gauge customer reaction before declaring it a flagship.

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