Shutdown delays opening of local craft beer business - FOX 32 News Chicago

Shutdown delays opening of local craft beer business

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The impact of the government shutdown is being felt in many industries, including craft brewing. Not only is the shutdown limiting the variety of those unique quirky beers available to you, but also, the startups can't get off the ground.

The craft brewers who, in many cases, have been working for years on their products are now realizing they can't finalize their federally backed loans nor can they get their brewing permits.

One hopeful entrepreneur says dream of opening a craft production brewery is on hold because congress can't get its act together.

Gary Gulley spends most evenings and weekends in the basement of his Lincoln Square home, brewing and taste testing his pale ales.

It took two and a half years of milling, fermenting, and filtering and now, his craft beer is ready for prime time.

"I'm going to be a production brewery, as opposed to a brew pub," Gulley explains. "So I'm going to be doing a 20 barrel brew system, which is pretty big."

Gulley, a web manager by day, says he's ordered the equipment and was ready to move his craft brewery into an 11,000-square foot space by next February. There's one big problem, however. The federal government is partially shut down which means the small business administration that is backing his loan is also closed.

"I have been approved by my bank but the SBA still needs to go through and do whatever they need to do to approve the loan and they can't do that right now because it's shut down, so, that's the first problem I'm having," Gulley says.

The second problem: a small federal agency called the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, is not processing new applications during the shutdown. So, Gulley's brewer's license approval is on hold.

"I'm trying to create jobs here and support my family and do my dream, and this is making it hard to do," he adds. "I've been panicking the entire way through this process."

Ironically, the name of Gulley's new business venture is Panic Brewing.

He is now hoping to open up shop by April, but that's only possible if congress reaches a deal this week.

"The good thing is, I have lots of beer to drink to get me through this," Gulley says, looking at the bright side.

We all know, time is money and Gulley estimates the delay in opening his business will cost him $10,000.

The shutdown is not only hurting start-up brewers, but it's also preventing any brewer trying to release a new recipe or packaging.

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