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Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Effects from the federal government shutdown have found their way into the craft beer industry, with brewers from Central Virginia experiencing a hindrance to new products and even charitable work.
The shutdown has closed an obscure agency that approves new breweries, recipes and labels, which could create huge delays throughout the rapidly growing craft industry.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is a little-known arm of the Treasury Department. The agency will continue to process taxes from permit holders, but applications for anything new are in limbo.
For Blue Mountain Brewery, in Nelson County, this means a halt to philanthropic work that was under way, in addition to obstructing commerce.
Taylor Smack, co-owner of the Blue Mountain Company, said the brewery manufactured a new red triple ale brew - to be labeled "Foxy Mama" - as part of a collaboration with Screens ‘N' Suds, a yearly beer and concert poster event held in Richmond that combines art, music and beer to benefit causes.
The Blue Mountain beer, which was going to be donated for $1 per bottle - since alcohol cannot be donated for free - was to be auctioned off for $40 per bottle at the event set for Nov. 2, Smack said. All the proceeds were intended to go to the Central Virginia Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Now, the gig is off.
"We literally cannot do it because our label is not approved," Smack said.
He said the label has been sitting in the TTB for at least a month, and that's just one step in the process.
Not only is the shutdown "holding up commerce," "it's also keeping really nice philanthropy from happening, and it's a real bummer," he said.
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