Justin Cox, the founder of Atlas Brew Works, thought shutdowns were behind him when he left his federal government job and opened the Ivy City brewery.
But the government shutdown is imperiling the planned release of the brewery's new apricot IPA, The Precious One. It can't be sold in cans until the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approves the label for the brew.
The process usually takes three to four weeks. With the agency shuttered, the process of releasing new craft beers has ground to a halt.
"We weren't even thinking that was going to be an issue," Cox said.
Once the fermenting process is done, the beer has a four-month shelf life. And even if a new beer label was approval tomorrow, it still takes six to eight weeks for labels to be printed and put on the cans.
"We have no idea where we are in that process and what the backlog is going to be," Cox said. "This beer might just have to go down the drain."
A prolonged delay can disrupt the strict schedule a brewmaster must follow to create a perfect taste — and stick to their production calendar.
The tank holding The Precious One now can't be used for other beers until the taps start flowing again.
"The government shutdown is really starting to proliferate," Cox said. "Us as a small business, we're just trying to make beer and sell our beer and provide for our employees and our families."
The brewery has also seen a dip in customers since the shutdown and is offering a 15 percent discount to federal workers.