The Real Reasons You Should (And Shouldn’t) Worry About Your Breweries During This Shutdown.

There seems to be a lot of articles lately that are telling you that your favorite breweries aren’t going to be able to get beer on the shelves for much longer. I don’t think that’s what the news has been trying to tell you – but it’s certainly how it looks, and it’s definitely how a lot of people are interpreting the headlines that are out there. Let’s clear some stuff up. Good news/Bad news style.

The Good News

They say: Breweries won’t be able to make any new beer!!! AHHHHHHH!

The truth is much less terrifying. The best news of all of this is that your favorite brewery isn’t going to suddenly run out of beer without the ability to make any more, or sell anything that they are making. In Ohio and Kentucky (this isn’t true in every state) as long as it’s not leaving the state, a brewery does not need Federal approval on a new beer. (Unless it involves a “new” ingredient, but that is a deeper conversation that we won’t get into today).

They say: No more local beer releases!!! Oh No!!!!!!!

Another deep breath here. Like I said before – no Federal approval is needed in state. That means packaging too. If you make a beer, and release cans or bottle of it in your taproom – you’re good. Keep on rocking in the free world. Think back to almost every Listermann release you’ve been to, Dark Charge Day, Urban Artifact and Streetside – most of these beers never see the light of any store, let alone one across state lines. Beer releases are safe.

The Bad News

It’s not all good news though. There are several ways that things might be noticeably affected within some of the breweries you love around town (or ones that you will love when they open).

Those folks that are trying to open:

The federal license process usually takes somewhere around 3-4 months to get approved. That’s when things are actually getting approved. Right now there is a backlog forming. There’s a line of paperwork, if you will. If your application falls in this mess of shit there is no telling how long the approval will take… when it actually gets rolling again, which who knows when that will be. Your soon to be favorite brewery might hit a few extra speed bumps in even getting rolling this spring or summer.

The breweries already open:

While it might seem great that anything they are releasing in-state doesn’t need approval, this is a very different ballgame when you count on stuff sold across state lines. Printing cans, planning brewing, planning retail space… all of this relies in part with making sure that federal approval goes through. There is a much bigger picture behind the scenes too… It’s easy to lose shelf space in this quickly changing world when you have uncertainties. Retailers don’t like uncertainties.

Another, even quicker effect that you might see is with pint nights, tap takeovers or beerfests. If a brewery sits across state lines from a place they are sending beer, they are tied to only sending a beer that already has approval previously. If a brewery is new (and doesn’t have many approvals) or was planning a new beer or something special to send to one of these events – they (and in turn you) are out of luck. While the beer can still exist in their taproom or in their own state, it’s not going where it was planned to go.

What Does It All Mean?

The point here is simple… yet hidden behind a lot of big headlines. Immediately there is little for you as a drinker to be too worried about. However – if this shutdown is prolonged for a while, it might have actual results that you have to deal with. With bigger breweries, or breweries that send a lot of their new beers over state lines – this could be extremely harmful long term and it’s definitely going to be something that a lot of them are going to be a little worried about.

Don’t stress… but be aware. And as the shutdown continues, go to an extra taproom or two to show them some love.

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