Craft Brewer Sues Trump Administration Over Government Shutdown

January 16, 2019, 5:32 PM UTC

There are a growing number of lawsuits against the Trump administration due to the ongoing partial government shutdown. One of the latest, from a Washington D.C.-based craft brewer, is taking a rather unusual approach.

Atlas Brew Works says the administration is violating its right to free speech, since the shutdown is preventing the brewery from getting approval for its seasonal apricot-infused IPA called “The Precious One.” By not being permitted to sell the beer to out-of-state customers, the brewer claims, it’s not being allowed to speak to them.

The lawsuit reflects the brewery’s investment in the beer. While winning could be a long shot, the litigation illustrates the growing backlash against the shutdown.

The beer and wine industries are especially vulnerable to the shutdown, as they require federal approval for new product labels. That department is currently closed, meaning brewers and vintners can’t roll out anything new.

Even when the government does reopen, there’s likely to be a tremendous backlog of labels for approval, which will cause further delays. This regulatory standstill also affects new breweries from obtaining permits to open.

The government shutdown is already the longest on record and shows no signs of stopping, even as the effects begin to ripple through the country in the form of delayed tax refunds, airport delays and possibly worse if the closure stretches on. Trump is demanding $5 billion to fund a security wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Congressional Democrats are refusing to agree, arguing it’s unnecessary. Trump has rejected their offers of compromise.


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