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Government shutdown has impacted new craft beer releases

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Posted at 6:02 PM, Jan 15, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — The government shutdown is impacting people in countless ways.

Federal workers haven't been able to get a paycheck. People who rely on food stamps have been left in limbo.

And now brewing companies can't even sell new types of beer.

Craft breweries across the country can't sell their new IPAs or lagers in cans or bottles, because the Alcohol Tax & Trade Bureau within the Treasury Department is closed. Leaving brewers like Sun King Brewing in a holding pattern to sell the new beer they want.

On Tuesday, Sun King brewers are cooking up something north of the border. A Canadian lager, matched by some Canadian rock music.

They like experimenting with new drinks. One beverage they have ready to go is a tequila drink. But they can't sell it to customers just yet.

"We have that kind of in limbo," said Dave Colt, Sun King Brewing's co-founder. "We have this collaboration pack that we are calling "Ten to Four Good Buddy" because it's our 10th anniversary — four different breweries in the pack, so that's kind of waiting."

They're waiting to get the label that would be printed on the bottle approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau. They have to sign off on all product labeling, making sure it includes necessary alcohol content and health warnings.

There's over six thousand breweries in the United States, and only so many folks who approve bottle labels, so every day there are other breweries creating things and the pile just keeps getting taller.

It usually takes about three weeks for label approval. But with the partial government shutdown, those applications are adding up. Now it could take up to two months, once the shutdown ends.

Sun King's co-founder says he's hopeful they can get through the backlog once the shutdown is over, in time for their 10th anniversary party in May.

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