Government Shutdown creates waiting game for breweries

Government Shutdown creates waiting game for breweries

The government shutdown is causing quite the headache for breweries across the country; including those in Vermont leaving many in the middle of a waiting game. The brew master at 14th Star Brewing Company hopes the government shut down won't create too much frustration for his craft.
St. Albans, VT- The government shutdown is causing quite the headache for breweries across the country; including those in Vermont leaving many in the middle of a waiting game.
The brew master at 14th Star Brewing Company hopes the government shut down won't create too much frustration for his craft.
But because of the shutdown one of his fan favorites won't hit the shelf until the government is back up and running.
For Steven Gagner 14th Star Brewing Company is a hobby turned retirement plan.
“It’s a terribly fun industry to work in,” said Gagner.
Gagner says it's been a fun challenge.
“Everything in alcohol licensing is a waiting game,” said Gagner.
The federal government approves new labels and formulas at breweries.
Gagner says normally that process takes 4-6 weeks.
But with the government shut down it's even more of a waiting game
“We were ready to approve them two weeks ago and the government shut down the Taxes and Trade Bureau who does the approval sent out a message telling us don't bother sending us anything because we can't look at it,” said Gagner.
Gagner says for the first time, he planned to bottle Honey IPA.
“It’s one of our crowd favorites if you will,” said Gagner.
But now the label is in limbo.
Like many brewers waiting for approvals, he's stuck.
“We're not bottling it before the label is approved,” said Gagner.
“While they are waiting for the label to be approved the Honey IPA still sits here fermenting. But if the government shut down continues- it won't go to waste. It will still be able to be served on tap and in a growler.
“Now if this rolls into four, five, six months then you're talking about money we had to front that we aren't capitalizing on, then it kind of becomes a financial and a business loss,” said Gagner.
And even when the government opens back up, it's unclear what will happen.
“Will they have a back log of labels? Will they rush to approve them?,” asks Gagner.
In the mean time you can still find the other 14th Star beers in stores, but you'll have to wait until the government is back in business to find Honey IPA on the shelves.
“It’s not a show stopper at this point, just kind of inconvenient,” said Gagner.
Gagner says he's also waiting for a distribution license and he says he has another label ready for approval- but with the shutdown he hasn't been able to submit it yet.
An extra twist to Gagner's story-- he's in the army, so his 'day job' is up in the air as well with the shutdown.
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