Government shutdown stalls Bradenton breweries

jtate@bradenton.comOctober 13, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Local craft breweries hoping to open in the next few months said they are feeling the effects of the government shutdown.

Michael Wagner, owner of Little Giant Brewery, said he is remaining hopeful that he will be in production when he projected.

"This is definitely holding us back from getting our permitting because they aren't doing any work right now," Wagner said. "It is an inconvenience."

Breweries require federal approval to open. The branch of the Treasury Department that awards permits is the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB. As with many federal agencies, all worked has stopped while politicians hammer out budget details.

Wagner's brewery, located at 301 Seventh St. E., cannot begin brewing until he receives permits.

"For me it's the brewery permit; all the startup breweries have to get that before we can start brewing," he said. "A lot of people don't notice it's a shutdown, but we notice it in our industry. We are being held up."

A few miles over on the Ninth Street corridor, Mo

torworks Brewing and Darwin's Brewery plan to open in Bradenton's quickly developing entertainment district.

Darwin's Brewery will operate a light industrial brewery and lounge at 803 17th Ave. W. near McKechnie Field.

Co-owner Matt Cornelius said that the government shutdown has not immediately effected his business, but if it drags on for another month, it will.

"We're right on point where we need to be on the state and local levels," said Cornelius. "If we are still unable to register in the next three weeks if will affect us."

Cornelius plans to open the brewery in February and said time is on his side, but he sympathized with other breweries that have been stalled by the shutdown.

Ann Altman, vice president and sales and marketing director for Motorworks Brewing, said all their licensing is pending because of the shutdown, but they are continuing to build their facility, located at 1014 Ninth St W.

"We're expecting to open the tap room in mid to late November," said Altman. "We're fast building. Our deck is done."

She said if they do not have their license in time for their opening, they will sell other tap beers, but she hopes it doesn't come to that.

"Whether we can open with our own beer will depend on the government shutdown and how quick we can get our licensing completed," Altman said.

Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.

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