EL PASO, Texas - The nation's craft beer taps are being squeezed by the government shutdown, which has put new releases on hold, prevented new breweries from opening and stopped shipments of beer.
The partial shutdown halted operations at the federal agency that regulates alcohol production and distribution. That means government employees can't issue the permits needed for the beer to flow.
"Their process is delayed. whereas before it used to take eight days to get a label processed, it’s going to take a lot longer once they're re-opened because they’re going to have that backlog of all the breweries that are submitting labels," El Paso Brewing Co. Co-owner Evelynn Vigo said.
El Paso Brewing Co. brews more than 12 unique beers, and distributes them to restaurants and bars around the region.
"We do have some new beers coming out that will need labeling soon, and once the government reopens it’s going to be awhile before the government can send those out," Vigo said.
Brewers are increasingly nervous that they will lose money if brewery openings and seasonal beers are delayed much longer in the dispute over President Donald Trump's demand for taxpayer funding of a wall along the border with Mexico.
“It’s affecting the government workers more but that trickles down to the whole economy so that will definitely affect the whole economy," Vigo said.