Although the federal government is currently operating normally, as long as funding is being provided under a temporary continuing resolution (CR) there is the possibility that a government shutdown could take place. Should that happen, the following information may prove helpful.
What is a government shutdown? A government shutdown happens when Congress has not approved a federal budget for the upcoming fiscal year. It results in the closure of “non-essential” government offices until the budget is approved.
How the Government Shutdown Could Impact Breweries
- Labels and Permits: During the last government shutdown, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) was shut down and did not approve labels or process permits. Until we hear otherwise we assume that this will be the case during the current shutdown. Breweries should be prepared for the labeling and permit process to take longer than estimated. Once the government is open again there could be a backlog. Breweries should plan accordingly.
- Taxes and Reports of Operations: If you are scheduled to pay federal excise taxes or to file brewer’s report of operations during the shutdown you are still required to pay them. Breweries can go to pay.gov to pay their taxes and file their reports of operations.
- Loans: If your 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. Note that TTB’s website has a searchable label approval registry that will also display your brewery’s federal brewer’s notice number and the certificate of label approval is a federal authorization to sell the beer with the approved label in interstate commerce. Unfortunately, brewer’s notices are not in TTB’s public database. Many state websites also display license information for verification purposes.
- Congressional Offices: Many Congressional staffers are designated as non-essential employees. There is a chance that during this time you will not be able to get in touch with the offices of your House or Senate Representatives.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to Brewers Association Federal Affairs Manager Katie Marisic.