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Shutdown affects Montana's beer, wine, spirits industry

Published On: Oct 10 2013 06:27:16 PM MDT   Updated On: Oct 10 2013 08:55:40 PM MDT
CORAM, Mont. -

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, known as TTB, isn't operating due to the government shutdown. That's the agency that approves formulas and labels for any new alcohol that hits the shelves.

There's a lot of paperwork that goes into a distillery.

"We have to report daily production, use of raw materials, and what we bottle and sell," said Nic Lee of Glacier Distilling Company in Coram.

Glacier Distilling Company submits their formulas and labels to the TTB. The feds must approve them one by one.

"If its not a standard formula we have to submit a formula, exactly how we're making it, and that goes into an online formula system," Lee explained.

But submission came to a screeching halt 10 days ago. Lee tells NBC Montana he's worried about a backlog. It already takes several months to get the green light on formulas and labels and Glacier Distilling has about six new formulas to send to TTB.

"You're taking an already slow process and really grinding it to a halt," said Lee. "I'm very curious to see when they turn it back on what that timeline is going to look like."

On the flip side, Lee still has to submit daily reports and pay excise taxes.

"It's frustrating to see that one end they'll take the money and on the other end they wont provide the service," Lee expressed.

Glacier Distilling Company is treading water when it comes to research and development, but they remain in good spirits.

"The nice thing about whiskey and spirits is that they store well so they'll just age a little bit and they'll get a little better while we wait for the government to get its act together," concluded Lee.