Trouble brewing for Oklahoma breweries amid government shutdown

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OKLAHOMA CITY - We're seeing the trickle-down effects of what is now the longest government shutdown in United States history.

Now, the government shutdown is brewing up trouble for Oklahoma breweries.

“Now, things are starting to flow over into businesses, like craft breweries who can't get label approvals,” said Sean Mossman, director of Sales and Marketing for COOP Ale Works.

Because the Tax and Trade Bureau is closed, breweries can't get labels approved or even get the green light on some new formulas and permits to open or expand facilities.

"You have reached the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Office of Congressional Affairs. Due to the lapse in appropriations, I'm unable to take your calls or emails at this time," a voicemail from the agency said.

"As fellow brewers, as a board member of the Craft Brewers Association of Oklahoma, I know there are younger breweries, smaller breweries and breweries that really rely on new products and new label approvals to really provide the cash flow for their business,” Mossman said.

While COOP Ale Works gets most of their profits from existing brews, Mossman has seen other breweries go flat because of the shutdown.

"There are breweries that are implanting in the state of Oklahoma. Enid Brewing Company is one that comes to mind that is currently awaiting their TTB license so they can become operational,” Mossman said.

Prairie Artisan Ales projected 60 percent of their first quarter earnings to come from special brews that are now sitting at their facility waiting for label approval.

Coop has one beer waiting for its new label before it can be sold.

"It's still sitting in a barrel," he said.

Elk Valley Brewing just opened its doors. Their current brews were already approved by TTB before the shutdown, but they are worried what will happen when they want to release a seasonal brew.

“If we had a label ready for a new beer today and filed that, it's a 42-day wait at this point and that's just with the current backlog so, if the shutdown keeps going for several more weeks, that backlog's just going to continue to grow,” said Bryan Grigsby, with Elk Valley Brewery Co.

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