A Bristol couple with big plans to open a brewery never imagined Washington politics could stop their dream from becoming a reality.
But that’s what they were confronted with during the government shutdown. Now they’re glad they can once again focus on brewing.
“We were like this is it… then the next day the government shut down,” explained Rachel Haseltine, co-owner of Better Half Brewing.
Inside of the space set to become Better Half Brewing, husband and wife Michael and Rachel Haseltine are breathing a sigh of relief.
“It’s been a huge relief for us. This is something we knew would take a long time even before the government shutdown,” Michael said.
After five years of planning, the couple was nearing the final phases of preliminary work for their North Main Street brewery when their application for a required federal brewing and selling permit stalled completely because of the government shutdown.
“It’s our federal license from the TTB t be able to manufacture and sell beer,” Rachel explained. “That’s kind of all that we’re doing here.”
With construction supplies ready to be installed, empty barrels waiting to be filled and a car waiting for customers, they waited but tried to keep going for all 35 days of the shutdown.
“We would be ready and just waiting for that piece of paper,” Michael said.
The needed permit was finally issued this week, three days after Washington got back to work. Now they’re looking forward to getting their business going, a dream for themselves and the community.
“Better Half Brewing is part of the revitalization of downtown Bristol. We’re hoping the spark that really gets this town going again,” Michael said.
Now that the Haseltines are over the shutdown hurdle, they’re on to state licensing process with the hope to open in early April.