Local brewery, so far, outlasting effect of federal shutdown

Local brewery, so far, outlasting effect of federal shutdown

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Mark Cowley’s experimentation station is where new recipes are born and hopefully sent to market.

He has no immediate plans to develop any new products to send to stores, and, that’s a good thing for now.

“If we were to be coming out with a new beer that we were going to put in cans and put out into production, then we would have to have a label approval,” he said.

That label comes through the federal government, specifically, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, but because of the now longest federal shutdown in U.S. history, that approval is not possible.

Eventually, it could be an issue, because brew pubs are all about what’s next.

“It’s very important because you can’t just keep making the same thing over and over and over,” Crowley said.

Cowley has nine beer choices with seven distributed. He plans to release a new flavor possibly in the summer or fall.

For some customers, the threat of any kind of federal dysfunction is not good for small business.

“Well, it’s unfortunate,” said Jill Brigman from Fort Wayne, Indiana. “Because, you know, it’s about the small businesses. It’s about the local businesses to make it nice, you know, for everybody else.”

“I do know how hard it is to own and operate a small business, and I think anything that would hinder that is not a good thing,” Terry Haft added, "and I don’t know how much the government should be involved in something like this.”

While he’s not under immediate threat yet, Cowley is always on alert.

“We’re not a big corporation so, we don’t have the big mothership that keeps feeding us money,” he said. “Our money is what we make right here. So, yeah, when things like that keep going on, then, yeah, it’s going to affect us, and we worry about it every day.”

Even if a label isn’t approved for distribution, breweries can still serve beer in their taprooms on draft. Taprooms at craft breweries were approved in the state in July 2017.

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