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New Beer Labels On Hold During Government Shutdown

Frankie Graziano
Connecticut Public Radio
Furlough inside federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms stops approval process. That impacts local breweries like Bloomfield's Thomas Hooker Brewery.

Beer drinkers will not get to sample brand new creations from their favorite breweries during the government shutdown.

That’s because workers inside the federal bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms have been furloughed.

Bloomfield’s Thomas Hooker Brewery cans about 700 cases per day of the #NoFilter New England IPA. If the shutdown continues, Hooker won’t be able to break out whatever its brewers are crafting that might overtake #NoFilter as his No. 1 selling brew.

“We’re always coming out with new brands and that’s what the consumer wants,” said Hooker president Curt Cameron. “This government shutdown sort of puts a damper on that because we can’t come out with new products because we can’t get the labels approved. There’s a lot of guys that are coming out with new beers literally every week so they’re going to have to rely on some of their old staples and just keep producing those.”

All labels have to be approved by the federal government. The “okay” comes from the ATF’s bureau of Tax, and Trade. But TTB employees aren’t even at work to give approval.

Credit Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio
Connecticut Public Radio
"This government shutdown sort of puts a damper on that because we can't come out with new products because we can't get the labels approved," said Curt Cameron, Hooker's president, regarding the need to be innovative in the craft beer business.

Hooker is awaiting approval on several labels.

“A typical label approval takes two-to-four weeks. Because the government’s been shutdown, there’s been a backlog of labels to be approved over those two weeks that have to be taken care of before any new applications can be reviewed. So, that backlog is going to take that two-to-four week process and probably make it four-to-eight weeks or maybe even longer depending on how long it takes for these guys to get back to work.”

Hooker won’t mass produce the beers it needs approval on just yet. Otherwise, the beer might just sit in the tanks.

Frankie Graziano’s career in broadcast journalism continues to evolve.

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