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Govt. shutdown stops Upstate breweries from bottling, selling new beers

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Bad news for lovers of craft beer, the government shutdown is keeping Upstate breweries from bottling and selling new beers.

“It’s a little bit frustrating,” said owner and manager of Thomas Creek Brewery Tom Davis.

Davis runs one of the oldest operations in the Upstate. He says before the shutdown he was brewing a new beer for a distributor in North Carolina, but that’s been put on hold.

“Their wholesale license, federal wholesale license, has been delayed because of it,” Davis said.

The Alcohol and Tabacco Tax and Trade Bureau, also known as the TTB, is the federal agency that regulates Davis’ operation.

Anytime a new beer is created or repackaged, the TTB has to approve it. However, the shutdown is keeping the agency closed and beer makers are feeling it.

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“When government employees aren’t making any money or taking home money, they’re not out buying beer,” said Henry Depew, Pres. and Co-Owner RJ Rockers Brewing Company.

In Davis’ case, the shutdown has him storing beer he can’t sell.

“As long as you leave it in the tank, you’ve got a couple months that you can get away with. Once you bottle it, then it needs to go,” Davis said.

Davis said the fermenter holding the new batch can’t be used and keeping it fresh is costing him about $150 a month.

“The profitability, for every month that it’s in the tank, goes down,” Davis told 7News.

His plans to can Indian Pale Ale by the first of the year also came to a screeching halt.

“For two reasons. One, nobody knows when the shutdown is going to end and two, once it does end there is going to be a backlog, that’s going to hold up the TTB for probably several months to get one approval,” Davis said.

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