After more than a month of inactivity, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is once again approving beer labels for breweries.
The agency had suspended operations on Dec. 26, 2018 other than “websites supporting excepted functions” due to the partial federal government shutdown that spanned from Dec. 22, 2018 to Jan. 25, 2019 and came about 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. That shutdown ended last Friday when President Trump signed a continuing resolution that reopened the federal government through Feb. 15.
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.
Although content at the TTB.gov website continued to be available during the shutdown and companies were also able to file electronic payments and returns for federal excise taxes and operational reports, questions or comments submitted via the website were not answered. In addition, label submissions were not reviewed or approved, leading to a number of breweries to take drastic measures, including a tweet to President Trump from Prairie Artisan Ales and a lawsuit from Atlas Brew Works claiming its first amendment rights were violated.
A notice that was present on the TTB.gov website explaining the reasons for the agency’s suspended operations has now been replaced with the regular website landing page, and submissions have begun to be posted again with the latest bearing an approval date of Jan. 28.