PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The government shutdown is starting to take a toll on one of Oregon’s most celebrated industries: craft beer.
The shutdown stretched into its third week on Thursday. Nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments have not been funded, including the United States Department of the Treasury.
Within this department is the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. It’s responsible for approving the labels of new craft beer products.
Until new products are given the TTB stamp of approval, they can’t be sold across state lines.
For Oregon brewers, that’s bad news for new beer releases.
John Harris, brewmaster and owner of Ecliptic Brewing in Portland, told KOIN 6 News two new releases are currently stuck in the brewhouse and the label approval process which used to take about a week has now exceeded 40 days.
“We sell probably 30 to 45 percent of our beer out of state,” said Harris. “We can’t ship that beer — it’s already made — but we can’t ship it out of state until we have federal label approval.”
While Ecliptic is feeling the squeeze with its out-of-state sales on hold, others are having an even tougher time coping with the shutdown.
New breweries can’t obtain permits which means they may have to sign leases on buildings without even knowing whether they’ll be able to eventually operate.
“So many lives are affected by this shutdown at all different levels,” said Harris. “Not just the people who aren’t getting paychecks but also the businesses being hamstrung by this shutdown, so the government really needs to get together and work this out.”