The partial government shutdown has hurt Hyattsville’s Sangfroid Distilling in the first weeks of its launch.
As one of the final steps before selling their products, brewers and distilleries must get approval for the design of their labels from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in the Treasury Department.
As noted on the agency’s website, the bureau is shuttered, as it’s not considered essential.
“TTB will suspend all non-excepted TTB operations, and no personnel will be available to respond to any inquiries, including emails, telephone calls, facsimiles, or other communications,” the site notes.
“We’ve got an apple brandy label and an aged gin label that need approval,” co-owner co-owner Nate Groenendyk told the Hyattsville Wire. “They’re still aging in barrels for the meantime, but we can’t order labels until they’re approved (TTB requires a ‘Certificate of Label Approval’, or COLA, for all products).”
As noted by DCist recently, even when the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau reopens it will face a backlog of labels to review. For some craft brewers, much more of a delay could lead them to have to throw out their products, while holding up the rest of their production process as unsold liquids wait.
“While we’re not turning over products as quickly as a lot of breweries are, for small folks like us a month or two of delays can really affect us,” Groenendyk added.
Sangfroid will still be open this Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m., with tours and tastings about every half hour.
Sangfroid is the first distillery in Prince George’s County’s since prohibition, nearly 100 years ago.