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New beer sales, breweries face delays during government shutdown

Posted: 1:31 PM, Jan 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-10 18:45:08-05

The government shutdown is impacting the sale of new beers nationwide, and anyone looking to open a brewery. Now local breweries are feeling the impact.

Nueces Brewing Company is hoping to open its doors in late spring. But the owners say if the government shutdown doesn’t end soon, they may have to push that opening back.

Brandon Harper, the co-owner for the company, says they began planning for the brewery on Water Street in mid-2016. Now that idea finally is coming to fruition.

“We’re on the hook for a pretty good project,” said Harper. “So we need to be open as fast as we can.”

But Harper says because of the government shutdown, the business hasn’t gotten the necessary licenses and permits to open.

The shutdown has closed the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. The agency approves licenses and beer labels for breweries. That means anyone looking to open a new business or sell new beer is going to have to wait until the shutdown is over.

“Without them operating, they can’t approve the permits necessary for us to open,” said Harper.

Harper says, to open on time, the brewery needs the necessary licenses and permits by mid-February.

“If it goes on past that, then it will delay us,” Harper said. “So a couple of months would be detrimental.”

As a business owner, he adds opening a business late could cost more money because they’re not bringing in profits as soon as they’d like.

“We’ve sunk a lot of costs into the project,” he said. “So in order to recover those costs, we need to be open.”

With no end to the shutdown in sight, Harper hopes the government is brewing up ways to resolve the issue.