Based in Washington, D.C., the ATF”s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau — known as TTB — approves applications for new beer, wine and spirits businesses. It is also in charge of approving new labels for alcoholic products booze makers hope to ship beyond state lines.
As of Dec. 22, TTB employees have been furloughed. On Wednesday, discussions between Democrats and the Trump administration to end the impasse went nowhere.
The Brewers Association, an industry group representing craft brewers, has advised members to “be prepared for the labeling and permit process to take longer than previously estimated. Also, be aware that when the government is funded again there could be a backlog. Breweries should plan accordingly.”
Jonathan Wakefield, founder of J. Wakefield Brewing in Wynwood, is upset. Known for putting out three-to-four new releases a month, Wakefield said he stands to lose up to tens of thousands of dollars as a result of the shutdown. Currently on hold: a Hefeweizen, two India Pale Ales, two lagers, and a stout.
“Our out-of-state markets—New York, Boston, California—we can’t ship anything there right now,” he said.
As a result, Wakefield said, he will also delay rolling out the new products in its own taproom.
There are now more than 240 craft breweries in Florida, according to the Brewer’s Association, combining for a $3 billion economic impact. Leon said he knows of at least four in Miami alone currently opening new locations or brand new operations.
If any of them were waiting for approval, they won’t get a response until TBB is back online, according to TBB’s website.
The same goes for any that applied for a loan. According to the Brewers Association, if a brewery “is in the process of applying for a loan from a bank or credit union they are likely unable to get the information they need from the federal government to process your loan.”
Tony Meneses, a spokesperson for Descarga Brewing Co., which has plans to open in North Miami this year, said the company now fears a backlog of applications will delay their debut.
“We have no idea what will happen,” he said.
Not all local breweries have been impacted. Spokespersons for Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park, and Wynwood Brewing Co. and Concrete Beach in Wynwood said they have not yet felt the effects of the work stoppage.
But John Linn, Funky Buddha’s marketing director,