Thursday, 10 January 2019 13:59

Government shutdown hurting breweries

Written by

STATEWIDE (WGME) - The government shutdown is now in its 20th day and some Maine breweries are feeling its effects first hand.

"We're ready to go! We could open in as long as it would take me to bring beer down there," said David Rowland of SoMe Brewing in York.


The brewing company was supposed to open a new location this month but it is now left collecting dust.


"We're basically supporting two breweries with only one being open so our bank account is just going down," Rowland said.


Because of the partial government shutdown, the federal Tax and Trade Bureau can't grant the brewery a license and now SoMe Brewing is hemorrhaging money.


"We haven't sat down and figured out the numbers, partially because we're too afraid of what they are -- it's a lot of money," Rowland said.


And it's not their first go-around. SoMe Brewing was in the same position during the 2013 shutdown -- as they tried opening their first brewery.


"This is as bad as it gets," Rowland said.


In Kittery, Woodland Farms Brewing is just sitting on beer it can't ship.


"The other big issue is for breweries who want to send their new beers out of state. ... With the gov shutdown, they can't get their labels approved. Meaning that four pack can't make the few feet trek over to New Hampshire where I am until the government reopens," said Patrick Rowan of Woodland Farms.


"Pretty straight forward process, but now all my tanks are full and I can't move the beer where it's supposed to go," Rowan said. "Like 65 barrels -- so that's $17,000 or $18,000 for us."


That's half of the company's income for the next few months


"We'll have to look at layoffs. Figure something out. I don't know. We'll have to dip into the reserve. It's pretty dire, you know?"


With no end to the shutdown in sight, the brewers said they are facing a harsh reality.


"This may be the end of my business," Rowan said. "This may be the end of many small craft breweries."