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As of late January, the federal government shutdown has dragged on for more than a month. Locally and nationally, plenty of people are struggling—workers are missing paychecks, federal business has been on hold. Here in Raleigh, Lonerider Brewing Company has felt the effects, too, with delays in receiving approvals from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (ATTTB) tying up a planned launch of a new beer that the company had hoped to roll out for its 10th anniversary. The ATTTB operates as the gatekeeper for can and bottle labels and recipe approvals, and it’s where all breweries and distilleries must submit branding materials for the green light before releasing them out to the markets at large, explains Lonerider marketing director Tom Simon. Lonerider’s 10th anniversary brew was originally slated to hit shelves this month, but now, due to delayed branding approval, that could be pushed back until as late as June. The company’s plans to open a new taproom in Wake Forest could also face delays, though its building permits have been approved and construction is underway.
Trophy Brewing Company, on the other hand, has not yet received a permit for a new facility it’s planning to open on Morgan Street, and won’t receive the permit until after the government reopens. Les Stewart, Trophy’s head of brewing operations, says this could stall Trophy’s schedule for months, or even years. “The shutdown has changed our plans a little bit,” Stewart says. “We’re basically sitting on our hands at the moment.” Both breweries were similarly affected by a government shutdown in January of last year; though it only lasted for three days, the breweries had to abandon plans to release a collaboration beer after canning was delayed when the beer’s labelling wasn’t approved in time. “Things have been tough for us in the past couple weeks, but this pales in comparison to the impact this has had on so many federal workers,” says Lonerider’s Simon. “While we struggle with procedural issues, there are folks not receiving paychecks. That’s a monetary impact that we hope for so many comes to an end soon.”
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