Friday, June 22, 2018
Business

D.C. shutdown puts crimp in Tampa Bay area craft beer business

The federal government shutdown has closed the Statue of Liberty, the panda cam at the National Zoo and now this: craft beer.

Tampa Bay area bars and restaurants are pouring suds as usual, but the shutdown has meant an obscure agency has suspended approval of new breweries, recipes and labels.

In the Tampa Bay area, the closure of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, could have big consequences. One of the nation's epicenters of craft brewing innovation, Tampa Bay is poised to welcome a number of new breweries and a raft of seasonal brews from the area's established brewers. The openings may be postponed and the seasonal beers scuttled.

Mike Harting, co-owner of BellaBrava in St. Petersburg and owner of downtown's upcoming 3 Daughters Brewing, has already been affected.

"I had a call a week ago Tuesday with Judy, a nice lady with the TTB who is processing my Brewer's Notice application. She said jokingly, 'If I don't get furloughed, I'll get it done.' "

The next time he called, he got a recording. He anticipated he would have had final approval last week. "If all goes well, we should be able to begin brewing in the middle of November. If this goes on two more weeks, there is a very good chance that is the thing that will hold us up from opening."

Geiger Powell, media and marketing director of Cigar City Brewing, says that the Tampa brewery had several label approvals outstanding with the TTB.

"Thankfully for us, none of the beers are critical and we don't need to cancel plans," he said. "It could have been a lot more catastrophic. We had a lot more stuff earlier in the year that would have been affected by this."

Fine, but for local beer drinkers, this means some of Cigar City's holiday seasonal beers may never see a glass.

For Tom Williams, co-owner of St. Petersburg Brewing set to open at 538 and 544 First Ave. N in November, the timing couldn't be worse. He applied for his Brewer's Notice application Aug. 20.

"It's supposed to take 82 days, which would mean mid November. I'm not sure if the agency is going to pick up and do double time (once the government reopens). I can't really say."

Tempers are flaring at breweries around the country since the Oct. 1 shutdown.

Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, told the Associated Press, "One could think of this shutdown as basically stopping business indefinitely for anyone who didn't have certain paperwork in place back in mid August."

Industry giants like Anheuser-Busch may not be affected. It's new and existing small craft brewers that will feel the pinch.

Williams, the St. Petersburg Brewery co-owner, manages to see a little humor in the TTB closure. "It's ironic. Until a year ago, you couldn't brew because of the local government in St. Petersburg," he said. "You'd never think it would be the federal government that would affect small beer."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Comments
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But that was all in...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s has been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes...
Updated: 4 hours ago
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18
WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

Mike Piper has traveled to Las Vegas and Miami and enjoyed the fun, daytime, party pool scene that the two cities have to offer.Now he aims to bring that same atmosphere to Tampa with a new dining and hang out spot. WTR Pool & Grill opened on Sunday ...
Published: 06/21/18
Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

A new resale store has made its way to South Tampa. Grace Family Church recently opened Vintage Etc., to provide affordable, quality merchandise to the community and continue its outreach to help families in need in a loving Christian environment. "W...
Published: 06/21/18