Shutdown preventing local brewer from selling beer - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Shutdown preventing local brewer from selling beer

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The situation in Washington is having an impact on things you may have never thought about.

One local brewer says the government shutdown is preventing him from selling beer.

At Thirsty Planet Brewery southwest of Austin, the tanks are full and the bottles are empty.

"We're kind of in a holding pattern waiting for the federal government to get their act together," said Brian Smittle, owner of Thirsty Planet.

Smittles' beer can be found on tap in 250 bars around Austin.

"We have three beers we do year-round, the Yellow Armadillo, the Thirsty Goat and the Bucket Head," Smittle said.

He wants customers to be able to pick up a six pack and enjoy his product at home.

For that to happen, he needs the tax and trade bureau to sign off on the labels that will go on each of these bottles.

"They're going to look at the surgeon general warning. They're going to make sure that it's a certain height. They're going to look at the address for the brewery. They're going to read the verbiage and make sure there's no misleading texts. They're also going to look at the general overall the label and make sure it either doesn't appear to children, doesn't have picture of the president, American flags things like that," Smittle said.

Smittle recently made a deal with H.E.B. to put his flagship beer, Thirsty Goat, on store shelves.

"It has a sweet caramely taste to it with a bitterness on the back end," he said.

He'd planned to churn out 700 cases a week by November and 1,500 by Christmas. But the normal three week federal approval process is at a standstill. He sent his application in one week prior to the shutdown.

When the shutdown ends, the tax and trade bureau will likely have a backlog of other brewers asking for the same thing.

"We have invested a large sum of money in stainless steel tanks and a bottling line that we cannot use. That's the worst part," Smittle said.

It's a pain now. At least he knows his beer will be in grocery carts sometime soon.

"It will be a huge accomplishment," Smittle said.

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