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Government shutdown affecting some local wineries, breweries

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WOODINVILLE — The federal government shutdown is now affecting Washington’s alcohol industry.

The federal agency responsible for regulating the industry is closed, meaning businesses are in limbo.

At Piccola Cellars in Woodinville, wine is on tap and they come in kegs.

“It’s fresh first glass to the last glass, a lot of wine bars have our wines,” said owner Rich Janshen.

wineBut now that flow is slowing down with the federal government shutdown.

“This is the product we are having labeling issues with,” said Janshen.

It’s a wine outside of a bottle called the Piccola Tote. It’s already on store shelves but the company is in the midst of relabeling the product. They have spent thousands of dollars designing and marketing the new label to draw more customers, but there is one big problem.

“We are stuck; no one answers the phone,” said Janshen.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, approves labels, ingredients and permits — and they are one of many federal agencies shut down.

“Our plan was to release some can beers this season,” said Sharon Wagner of Dirty Bucket Brewing Co.

Dirty Bucket Brewing is new to the industry and the stalemate in Congress is hitting them where it hurts.

“It has an immediate impact on our bottom line and our ability to grow; I think it’s more significant that we realized,” said Wagner.

Thousands of dollars in lost sales are hard to swallow, especially for small businesses.

Eventually, there may also be less seasonal beers to choose from — that’s because TTB also approves new recipes for seasonal beers.

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