According to a note posted on the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s (TTB) website, the agency has ceased operations other than “websites supporting excepted functions” due to the partial federal government shutdown that is now in its fifth day.
Founded in 2003, the agency is a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury that is responsible for regulating labeling laws and regulations for beer and alcohol within the United States, including reviews of permits for new products and package labels for craft breweries.
However, content at the TTB.gov website will continue to be available during the shutdown and companies will also continue to be able to file electronic payments and returns for federal excise taxes and operational reports, although questions or comments submitted via the website will not be answered until the shutdown ends. In addition, visitors will also be able to “access TTB’s eGovernment applications, including Permits Online, Formulas Online, and COLAs Online, during the shutdown period, but submissions will not be reviewed or approved until appropriations are enacted.”
This is the third time parts of the federal government have been shut down this year and comes after the House, Senate and President Donald Trump failed to pass a short-term spending bill that would have funded the entire government until Feb. 8, 2019. A similar shutdown in 2013 that lasted 16 days resulted in numerous craft brewery label submissions being held up until the government was reopened.
“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,” reads the TTB website. “TTB has directed employees NOT to report to work and they are prohibited by federal law from volunteering their services during a lapse in appropriations.”
Per the TTB website, “operations will fully resume when appropriations are reenacted.”