Update on the Government Shutdown and BA Efforts in Washington

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As you have seen over the last several weeks, the partial government shutdown has been widely discussed with a heavy emphasis on and speculation around its impact on the U.S. economy and workforce. Breweries are of course no exception to the shutdown’s impact and the staff at the Brewers Association (BA) has been hard at work ensuring our voice and our concerns are being heard. As the shutdown nears the one-month mark, we wanted to reach out to our members to share a bit about what we have been doing in Washington to combat the effects of the shutdown.

  • The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB):
    • The TTB is one of the agencies that has been closed as a result of the shutdown (which began on December 22, 2018). The TTB has released an Appropriations Lapse Notice and has not—and will not—approve labels or process permits until it reopens, at which time there will likely be a backlog and breweries should expect longer timelines and should plan accordingly.
    • The BA has worked with House of Representatives Small Brewers Caucus chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) on a letter to TTB Administrator Manfreda and Secretary Mnuchin. Our letter, which was sent today and can found here and below, asks that when TTB reopens, the agency exercises temporary enforcement discretion on certain Tax and Trade Bureau actions to minimize the economic impact the shutdown already has had on America’s breweries.
    • The senate is voting today on border funding and on opening the government for three weeks. If the vote succeeds, the BA is ready to work with the TTB to help deal with the backlog.
  • Support from the Hill:
    • Senators Warner (D-VA), Kaine (D-VA), and Bennet (D-CO) have expressed their frustrations and their support for America’s craft and independent breweries through letters sent to Secretary Mnuchin last week.
  • The Brewers Association (BA) in Washington:
    • The BA has been actively speaking out on behalf of our brewing community with staff participating in media interviews on a near-daily basis with leadership quoted across regional, trade and top-tier outlets shedding light on the different ways brewers are feeling the effects of the shutdown. Media continues to seek comment from the Brewers Association underscoring the important role the more than 7,100 U.S. breweries play in our nation’s economy.
    • The BA has taken part in meetings with our allies in the alcohol beverage manufacturing industry and, earlier today, participated in a roundtable discussion on the shutdown at Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria, VA joined by Senator Warner (D-VA) and Port City founder, Bill Butcher.
    • In case you missed it, the BA shared this blog post on how the shutdown can impact breweries: How the Government Shutdown Impacts Breweries (January 2, 2019)

The Brewers Association knows that 2019 is off to an uncertain start but America’s small brewers are manufacturers and entrepreneurs who are crucial to our nation’s economy. The Brewers Association will continue to fight for our members’ interests and provide additional updates as new information is made available.

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