Prairie Artisan Ales Tweets To President Trump About the Shutdown

Prairie Artisan Ales Tweets To President Trump About the Shutdown

I’m sure this is one of many tweets aimed at President Trump, but Prairie Artisan Ales tweeted this message out complaining about how the government shutdown is affecting them.  As part of the shutdown The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is closed.  This prevents new beer labels from being approved, which in theory prevents them from being sold.  I say “in theory” because I have witnessed beers being sold ahead of their actual label approval. 

I’ve also been asked how this shutdown affects “craft” beer, and the simple answer is that it will delay some new beers.  Previously approved beers are fine and can be sold, however new beer labels or packaging can’t be released until approved by The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.  As we push into spring, I suspect the backlog caused by the shutdown will push back many release schedules as the breweries wait for The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to catch up on label approvals. 

This only affects new beers that are shipped across state lines and there are on average about 100-150 new beer labels approved per day (about 34,000 per year), so as we head into day 25, I expect a massive backlog of approvals that may delay spring/summer seasonal releases and maybe more.

I also expect that if a label isn’t officially approved, many breweries will likely delay the purchasing and printing of the labels/cans themselves until the label can be approved.  This will also domino into production schedules, distribution timing and promotional events planning.  It’s too early to say how this will affect small breweries financially, but I suspect there is a lot of real money on the line that is now subject to a situation where a good business plan means nothing.

Perhaps the only bonus is that if the shutdown lasts long enough, some of the seasonal creep we’ve witnessed in the last 10-years will normalize a bit, but only for new beers….so for 2019 I’m predicting new pumpkin beers hitting shelves in December, and new holiday ales next Feb.  (Yes I’m kidding)….stay tuned.


[Editor’s Note]:  Yes I am aware that there are serious personal and financial implications for government workers & military families that definitely outweigh the consequences of beer label approval.  You should also note that the arm of The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau that collects beverage excise tax is still operational.

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