USA: Beer shutdown

The government shutdown caused by lapse in government funding which is paralyzing public life in the U.S. for the last three weeks is now also affecting the beer industry. One of the federal agencies hit by the shutdown is the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which not only regulates and collects taxes on trade and imports of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms within the United States but also gives approval to breweries to start their operations or to launch new beers.

The Brewers Association (BA) is therefore warning that “breweries should be prepared for the labeling and permit process to take longer than previously estimated. “ Katie Marisic, Federal Affairs Manager at the BA points out that the problem is not immediately resolved after the shutdown. “Be aware that when the government is funded again there could be a backlog. Breweries should plan accordingly.”

Brewers, which want to to defer payments to the TTB because of the shutdown should also be warned that they are still required to pay federal excise taxes or to file a brewer’s report of operations. “Breweries can go to to pay their taxes and file their reports of operations,” the BA says.

However, if you want to access TTB’s website, you will find the following message: “TTB will suspend all non-excepted TTB operations, and no personnel will be available to respond to any inquiries, including emails, telephone calls, facsimiles, or other communications. The website and operations will fully resume when appropriations are reenacted.  TTB has directed employees NOT to report to work and they are prohibited by federal law from volunteering their services during a lapse in appropriations. Once funding has been restored and the government shutdown is over, we will work to restore regular service as soon as possible.”

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