Government shutdown delays SETX brewery's plans

John McKissack brews beer. Big beer.

"That's what we do, we brew big, rich flavorful beers and we put 'em in big bottles," he told 12News Wednesday.

John and his wife Tammy have been making craft beer since 2004. They started their own company, Texas Big Beer Brewery, located just south of Buna, about 2 years ago.

"We're really struggling, we work very hard for every penny we make," said John.

They currently have 6 beers on the market, and hoped to have a new pumpkin pie flavored ale on store shelves before Thanksgiving, but not anymore.

"It had not occurred to me that the government shutdown would affect me in any way, until I went on the web site to check on the status and it said it was down," John said.

"He looked at me and said 'Oh no we're not going to be able to make our beer!'" said Tammy.
Anytime you use ingredients other than the regular hops, grains, yeast and water in a beer, like different spices, you have to get the formula approved by the federal government before you can distribute it.

John says he was days away from approval when the shutdown ruined his plans.

"The timing of the shutdown could not have been worse," he said. "Anytime you have a new beer, all the stores want it and everybody buys it. I don't want to give a dollar amount, but it would have been a good boost that we really needed."
John says even after getting approval, it still takes close to 6 weeks to buy the bottles, label them, and brew the beer. He says if the government reopens tomorrow, he still doesn't think he'd be able to get the new beer on the shelves in time for Thanksgiving, whish is when they want it out since it's a seasonal brew.

They now plan to hold off on distribution until next Thanksgiving. It's a major inconvenience, but it hasn't kept the couple from seeing the glass as half full.

"We have enough followers that they're going to wait, they're not going to go 'Oh you can't make a pumpkin beer this year, I'm not going to drink your beer'," said Tammy.
"When you run a brewery like this, you have so much going on, things happen all the time, this is just another one of them that we've got to overcome and just keep going forward," John said.



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