Bennet Takes Stand for Colorado Breweries as Shutdown Creates Backlog and Stalls Business

Entire craft brewing supply chain affected by backlog for alcohol labels, formulae, and permits

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today called on Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to address the government shutdown’s chilling effect on brewers and distillers, as they await approvals, delay product launches, and halt projected growth.

“The uncertainty of a government shutdown is affecting these business owners’ ability to invest, hire, grow, and hit revenue targets,” Bennet wrote in a letter to Secretary Mnuchin. “The inability of these companies to plan also affects farmers, suppliers, and everyone along the craft brewing supply chain, an industry that contributes $76.2 billion and more than 500,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.”

Due to the partial government shutdown, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has been unable to review or approve any labeling changes, new formulae, or permits for brewers and distillers across the country. Since the start of the shutdown, more than 11,000 applications for alcohol labels have been backlogged.

“If the shutdown worsens an already lengthy approval backlog, brewing companies could suffer delays and tens of thousands of dollars of lost revenue…This is just one example of how the President’s decision to shut down the government over an ineffective and wasteful border wall (that Mexico was supposed to pay for) is hurting the economy and the livelihoods of communities across the country,” Bennet wrote.

Colorado is home to nearly 400 breweries. Several of these companies have already experienced negative effects of the shutdown. For example:

  • New Belgium Brewing and Oskar Blues Brewery have delayed the planned launch of several new beers.
  • Upslope Brewing Company has already released their launch schedule, but now faces uncertainty and the potential loss of tens of thousands of dollars in revenue.
  • Three Barrel Brewing has already brewed a batch of pale ale that could spoil before receiving TTB’s approval, costing thousands of dollars.
  • Spice Trade Brewing and Westminster Brewing Company have permit approvals pending with TTB that are preventing planned location expansions and openings.

“It is my hope you can impress upon the Administration the importance of working with Congress to open the government as soon as possible. In the meantime, please detail how the Department of the Treasury intends to address the backlogs that have begun to hurt breweries across the country,” Bennet concluded.

A copy of the letter is available HERE.