Government Shutdown Affecting Kalamazoo’s Craft Beer Industry
Hundreds of thousands of Americans aren't receiving paychecks. National parks are in disarray. Government run landmarks are closed to visitors. Just when you think this government shutdown has gone too far, they go and screw with our beer. How, you ask, could the shutdown be affecting production? Well, the Tobacco, Tax, and Trade Bureau, or the TTB as the kids are calling them, have to approve labels of any new beer before it can be sold. That means small batches, limited barrels, and original brews have to sit in beverage limbo until all this gets sorted out.
One well known name in the Kalamazoo craft beer game is Larry Bell of Bell's Brewery. According to an article, Bell said of the shutdown's affects:
I can't remember anything on this level that's given me the kind of anxiety that it's giving me right now... Nothing is being processed - no label approvals... nothing else that we need to do to operate our business and grow and thrive.
This news couldn't come at a worse time, as most breweries are now setting up plans for summer, the craft beer season here in Michigan. Will the shutdown end in time to help our local, small breweries get back to business, or will this event separate the wheat from the chaff? Only time will tell.