Government Shutdown Taps Out Local Brewers - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Government Shutdown Taps Out Local Brewers

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by Todd Walker

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - The government shutdown is now affecting small businesses like craft beer brewing.

Breweries like Cool Springs Brewery in Franklin have to get approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for new labels and new breweries. That federal agency isn't operating right now.

Cool Springs Brewery co-owner Chris Hartland wants to begin bottling his beer and selling it in stores.

The beer is brewed and ready, but the labels still need approval.

"It's kind of frustrating when you don't expect that to be a problem," Hartland said. "You have a whole lot of problems running a small business, especially my wife and I. We're a local business. This isn't something we've been doing for a long time. You expect those things (the government) just to be in place ... that that's not going to be the hiccup. The hiccup is going to be the design of the label or finding someone to put it on the bottle for you. To get to the stage where finally it's ready only to know the lights are on but no one is home - there's nothing that can be done about it."

Hartland hopes selling beer in liquor stores will test the market and then eventually help him pay for a larger, off-site brewery.

There will likely be a back-log of requests when the government does start back up again. According to the Associated Press, requests were already taking as long as 75 days to approve.

Hartland is originally from the United Kingdom. His wife, who co-owns the brewery with him, is in the U.K. right now because her U.S. visa expired. She cannot come back until the government reopens and issues her a new one.


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