The Government Shutdown Left a Brewery with Beer They Can’t Sell, So They’ll Give It Away to Furloughed Federal Workers
For anyone thinking it was only a hypothetical, think again: As the government shutdown wraps up its third week, the reduced staff at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) really is preventing some brewers from getting the label approvals necessary to commercially sell new beers. Needless to say, that lost revenue can affect a brewer’s bottom line, but as The Kansas City Star reports, one local brewer plans to make the best of this bad situation by helping those in need: namely, furloughed federal workers.
James Stutsman told the paper that he and his partners are slated to open their new City Barrel Brewing Company in Kansas City on February 22. “I have four beers that we were planning on releasing on opening day and I only got one of them approved through the system before the shutdown,” he explained. One of those unapproved beers is called “Rad AF” — a New England IPA that needs to be drank as fresh as possible before the hops lose their kick. Stutsman estimates that, canned, the beer is worth about $20,000 at retail. But since the sale of the beer is time-sensitive, instead, he plans to use a legal loophole and give the beer away for free at a “private,” ticketed event — and furloughed federal employees will get a chance to come in early. “At least they can drink a beer on me,” he was quoted as saying. “Might as well serve it at its prime.”
Meanwhile, City Barrel isn’t the only brewery offering to help drown the sorrows of federal workers that suddenly have a lot more free drinking time on their hands. Right there in Kansas City, Boulevard Brewing has launched a deal where a federal ID entitles you to a free beer and a 50 percent discount on the rest of your tab. Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing is also offering up a generous deal: “Show your govt ID to our bar staff and your first two are on us,” the brand announced on Twitter. Other examples include Mad Fox Brewing in Falls Church, Virginia, and Lake Superior Brewing in Duluth, Minnesota, both of which have extended discounts to furloughed federal workers. With over 7,000 breweries operating across the U.S., it’s highly likely other breweries are stepping up with shutdown deals as well.