The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) — the federal agency that approves new beer labels and brewing companies — is once again operational following a 16-day government shutdown that ended last Thursday.
“We understand that the shutdown imposed hardships on many of you, the industry members we regulate, and on the public we serve,” the agency wrote today in its newsletter. “We want to assure you that TTB is committed to reducing the impact of the shutdown in as many ways as possible, and as quickly as possible, to lessen the effects on your business operations.”
The branch officially resumed its operations last Thursday, Oct. 17.
The TTB said it is currently reviewing brewing applications and label submissions that were automatically rejected during the shutdown. It will also add 21 days to the status date for all applications that were in a “needs correction” status prior to the shutdown.
The backlog could have delayed the production of some seasonal craft beer offerings, like New Belgium Brewing’s new Spring Blonde. Earlier this month, New Belgium spokesman Bryan Simpson told USA Today that the company would need to pay extra for rush delivery of its new labels if the shutdown dragged on.
But with the shutdown over, the Simpson said things are returning to normal.
“We had five labels and three recipes awaiting approval,” he said. “We should still be on schedule at this time.”
In an effort to process the backlogged requests, the TTB has temporarily redirected staff and authorized additional overtime to process label, formula and permit applications.
Additional information can be found on the TTB website.