Poli Storm

By Hope Kirwan, NPR

Craft beer drinkers in the U.S. may see fewer new bottled beers coming out in the next few months.

That's because the federal agency that approves brewery labels is closed, a result of the government shutdown.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. One of the TTB's jobs is to review beverage alcohol labels for things like alcohol content or fluid ounces in a bottle.

As of Dec. 21, the TTB had received 192,279 label applications since the start of 2018. That breaks down to over 3,000 applications coming in every week.

But since the government shut down, labels aren't getting approved right now. That's a problem for beermakers like Joe Katchever, owner and brewmaster of Pearl Street Brewery in La Crosse, Wis.

Pearl Street is celebrating its 20th anniversary in February, and Katchever's team brewed something special for the big anniversary party. Called Deux Decadence (a nod to two decades), the stout has been aging in bourbon barrels from Kentucky for a year.

But Katchever can't bottle the more than 500 cases of beer until his label gets approved by the bureau.

"We can still roll out the beer in draft form," Katchever said. "We're all hoping they figure out what they need to figure out and open the government back up."

Read the full story on the NPR website.