Craft Beer Industry Feels Pinch of Government Shutdown

Reports are plentiful on the impacts of the government shutdown, but a surprising group of Chicago business owners are also being hurt.

Chicago’s booming craft brewery scene is being hurt by the shutdown, and industry experts fear that some businesses could be forced to close if the government doesn’t re-open soon.

The highly-competitive craft beer market is dependent on the United States Treasury, as the department has to approve permits or new labels on beers before they can be sold to the public.

“There are some start-up businesses and breweries that rely on weekly or bi-weekly income of selling new products to the market place,” Marz Community Brewing President Edward Marszewski said. “If they miss one or two weeks of sales, they can be put out of business.”

The government has now been shut down for nearly three weeks, meaning that no new labels or products have been approved in that time. Some companies are worried that even when the government re-opens, the backlog of approvals at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau will be so great that they will continue to go without income for even longer.

At Marz Community Brewing, the company is in a state of limbo, as they were just invited to an international beer festival in China. With the government shutdown, the company won’t be able to travel for the event, as they’re waiting on government approvals on products.

“We’ll have to cancel our trip, cancel our reservations, if possible,” Marszewski said. “We’ll cancel our flights and miss a massive opportunity for networking and actually find out opportunities of distributing our beer in China.”

The craft beer industry is a big economic force in the state, contributing $3.1 billion to the state’s economy, according to experts.

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