WASHINGTON, D.C. — Colorado U.S. senator Michael Bennet has called on Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to address the effect the federal shutdown has had on craft brewers. “The uncertainty of a government shutdown is affecting these business owners’ ability to invest, hire, grow and hit revenue targets,” Bennet wrote in a letter to Secretary Mnuchin. “The inability of these companies to plan also affects farmers, suppliers, and everyone along the craft brewing supply chain, an industry that contributes $76.2 billion and more than 500,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.” The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a branch of the Treasury Department, has been unable to review permits, new formulations or labels for brewers. More than 11,000 applications for labels have been backlogged since the start of the shutdown. Bennet cited several Colorado breweries being impacted by the shutdown: New Belgium Brewing and Oskar Blues are both delaying the launch of new products. Spice Trade Brewing in Arvada and Westminster Brewing Co. still have their permits pending. “If the shutdown worsens an already lengthy approval backlog, brewing companies could suffer delays and tens of thousands of dollars of lost revenue,” he wrote. Bennet concluded his letter saying he hoped Mnuchin could impress upon the Trump Administration the importance of working with Congress to end the shutdown and to outline how the Treasury Department plans to address the backlogs hurting breweries nationwide.
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