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Government Shutdown Means You May Not See Any New Beers or Wines for a While

January 2, 2019, 4:05 PM UTC

The prolonged government shutdown is already dramatically impacting the lives of federal workers and is leaving investors in the dark due to the lack of economic updates. But some impacts are less obvious. Among those: Until the government reopens, there won’t be any new beer or wine releases.

Breweries and wineries require federal approval for their products’ labels. That department is closed these days, though, meaning brewers and vintners who want to roll out something new can’t.

Technically, that won’t be an immediate problem. Labels are typically approved well in advance of a product’s release, so consumers won’t see a dramatic impact anytime soon, but the shutdown is creating a backlog. Additionally, craft brewing startups, which require license approval, are also in limbo.

(The shutdown will have no impact on beers and wines whose labels have already been approved.)

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is the agency in charge of approving labels, licenses, and new ingredients to beer, wine, and spirits. During the shutdown, companies can continue to submit applications, but the site notes “submissions will not be reviewed or approved until appropriations are enacted.”

The government has now been shut down for 12 days as Democrats and Donald Trump face off over funding for the border wall. Trump is demanding $5 billion in funding. Democrats have held tight to $1.6 billion previously negotiated with Republicans in Congress.