Government Shutdown Puts Strain on Local Craft Brewers

It's especially hurting breweries who typically transport a majority of their new, craft beer over state lines

FARGO, N.D. — With no sign of the government shutdown ending soon, it has craft brewers feeling the repercussions.

Creating new beer flavors and staying innovative is what craft brewers call the bread and butter of their businesses.

“The number is constantly growing. We come out with a new beer at least one or two weeks,” said Jesse Feigum, Drekker Brewing owner.

But any more of those creative, craft brew ideas will remain an afterthought for now.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which approves licenses for new breweries, new ingredients in beer and labels for beers sent out of state is no longer doing its job during the shutdown.

That means until the shutdown ends, you can only get Drekker’s new brews from its two locations.

“Anything that we have previously approved isn’t affected by this. Those are still fine to distribute. It’s just new beers coming out. So it’s really looking into the future. The longer this goes on, the more beers will be affected,” Feigum said.

Drekker posted the announcement to their Facebook page, already getting tons of attention from beer lovers.

Some have commented things like “sounds like it’s time for blank mystery packs”  “this shutdown has gone too far” and “can’t you use a previous label and put a sticker on it?”

But it’s not that simple.

The label process was put in place to regulate commerce between states and to protect consumers.

“You have to have the government warning. You have to have the volume of the beer and things like that. So it standardizes those things and it’s just oversight to make sure breweries aren’t doing things that are against the rules,” said Aaron Juhnke, Junkyard Brewing owner.

Juhnke says Junkyard Brewery was able to get some new craft beers approved before the shutdown.

“It’s not affecting us at this point but if it stretches on, for another month or two, then it can start to affect our ability to distribute across state lines,” Juhnke said.

Only time will tell but the good news is both Junkyard and Drekker still have plenty of beer for customers to help pass it by.


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