Govt. Shutdown Could Flatten New Conn. Craft Beers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Without government approval of the labels on three new craft beers, Connecticut's Top Shelf Brewery might have to put its new brews on hold. (Published Monday, Oct 14, 2013)

    The shutdown of the federal government is threatening to shut the tap on three new Connecticut craft beers planned for release in December.

    The beers are produced by Top Shelf Brewing Company in Manchester, one of Connecticut's few craft beer makers.

    The ales themselves are ready to go. The problem lies with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a government agency that's been stalled by the shutdown.

    Without the bureau's approval, Top Shelf's newest additions will have to be shelved.

    "Warning labels have to be in the correct spot," said Mike Boney, who founded Top Shelf, along with two partners. "The size of the glass, the amount of alcohol in the actual beer have to be a certain font size, so it's stuff like that."

    Boney said label approval for Top Shelf's first three ales took just a couple weeks. But the release of the brewery's new imperial stout, Marathon IPA and seasonal Holiday Cheer brew could now be delayed.

    The new brews will be ready for roll-out Dec. 6, provided the shutdown doesn't have an impact.

    But Boney said he's bracing himself for the worst-case scenario. Even if the bureau does go back to work soon, he's concerned the shutdown will still take its toll.

    "It's probably gonna be backlogged," said Boney, about the bureau, "so it's gonna be tough to get them out in time."