Federal government shutdown effects include Suncoast craft beer companies

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SARASOTA - As the federal government shutdown drags on, we see its effects reach ever wider, even into our beer.

Several businesses on the Suncoast trying to open breweries need approval for every beer they brew, including for the label they put on the bottle. Guess what? There's a federal department in charge of that.

And it's closed. “It's a very bad thing, and unfortunately, there's not a thing we can do right now,” says Denise Tschida, co-owner of Motorworks Brewery in Bradenton. It expected to offer its own brews to the dozens of craft beers it will feature when it opens next month. “We've tried calling,” she says. “But we're just on hold.”

It's another complication for area businesses getting into the growing trend of craft breweries. “You have to have thick skin if you're going to open a brewery,” says Mike Bisaha, co-owner of Big Top Brewing Company in Sarasota. “If you can make it through this entire process, and the hiccups, and the ups and downs, then you deserve to open.” He feels like he dodged a bullet. He got his federal approval for three beers Big Top plans to brew. But it has perfected recipes for about 20 more, and if it wants to brew any of those, “that's when we'd be subject to the government, yes,” Bisaha says.