Impact Of The Government Shutdown On Local Beer And Wine Makers

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — As the government shutdown continues, national parks and federal agencies remain closed, causing workers to go unpaid.

Soon there could be another casualty of the shutdown, the craft beer and wine industry.

Christopher Reed, the President and C.E.O. of Core Brewing and Distilling Company says they haven't seen an impact yet, but there is concern among beer and winemakers because they can't introduce new products.

Meanwhile, Core is getting ready to introduce four new beers.

"Beer is 75-percent art and 25-percent science, our brewers are artists," said Reed. "They're constantly trying to improve their craft and express themselves through the art of beer."

Luckily for Core, those labels were approved long before the government shutdown, but any future or pending product launches will have to be on hold.

"It's important for us to be able to innovate and interject those new beers because that's what the consumer wants," said Reed.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a federal agency, is not approving labels for new drinks while the government is closed.

"If you probably plan your business in advance all that leg work should have been done, and it won't have a dramatic impact, but again if it continues it doesn't matter how far in advance you plan, you still can't introduce new products," said Reed.

Altus based Post Winery is in a similar situation. The newest label was approved on December 21st, one day before the government shutdown.

"You need the product to sell and if you can't legally sell it, you're breaking the law," said Paul Post, Poster Winer Vice President. "We don't want to do that, and that would be tough for any business."

While the winery will be able to put out its latest wine, the owners are still hoping that lawmakers can come to an agreement soon.

"We don't want a delay in the product, to be delayed from being on the shelves," said Post. "I think that's a good reason to get the government back in action here."

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