Breweries stuck waiting for labels during goverment shutdown

Local breweries impacted by government shutdown

NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - It’s not often beer and politics mix. But the label approval needed for new beers from the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is coming to a halt due to the government shutdown, leaving some local brewers in the lurch.

“I didn’t expect it to be a concern,” Amy Baylor, co-owner of the New Albanian Brewing Company in New Albany, Indiana, said.

For more than three decades, Baylor and her sister, Kate Lewison, have been behind the well-loved beer at New Albanian Brewing Company.

Far away from Washington and its politics, the women were surprised to find this government shutdown could impact their business.

“I don’t think of politics so much when I think about beer," Baylor said. "So it feels like it’s out of left field.”

You can already pick up brews like Hoptimus and Frankensteiner in stores. Baylor and Lewison were preparing to launch their third brew in stores, Hoosier Daddy, by February. But the government shutdown may cause them delay.

All labels for new beers must be approved by the TTB. They need that approval for Hoosier Daddy before they can distribute the brew, and the shutdown is threatening to delay the beer’s release.

“Part of the whole package, the momentum, getting it ready, getting ready to blow it up and then, we’ve got to hold for a minute," Kate Lewison, co-owner of the New Albanian Brewing Company, said. "Hopefully it’s only a minute!”

The wait from Washington is leaving their plans to launch Hoosier Daddy in the lurch.
The wait from Washington is leaving their plans to launch Hoosier Daddy in the lurch. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

“I can’t tell liquor stores to be ready for this now until we’re sure that we can,” Baylor said. “Makes you drink!” she said, laughing with her sister.

Lewison and Baylor said beyond their beer, they’re very worried for the possible impacts the shutdown could have on their staff. As the shutdown continues, some were worried about possible delays to processing tax refunds -- a big concern for the small business and for staff, including many who live paycheck-to-paycheck.

Monday, a White House official said refunds would be issued as normal.

Running a business is often unpredictable, they say, but they’re hoping to see things around southern Indiana, and in Washington, back to normal soon.

"Roll with the punches,” Lewison said. “We’ll get there.”

A representative with Against the Grain Brewery in Louisville said they’re lucky -- they currently don’t have any label approval pending for their beers and they don’t expect to be impacted by the shutdown.

Ted Mitzlaff, with Goodwood Brewing Company, said the brewery is impacted by this shutdown.

Goodwood is currently waiting for their alcohol wholesale license for producing spirits. They’re also waiting for the federal label approval for two new beers, an IPA and El Gosedor, a Hemp Gose in tequila barrels, that aren’t able to be sold outside Kentucky without federal approval, Mitzlaff said.

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