Trinity Brewing is a Colorado Springs staple, known for brewing unique craft beers by incorporating wine techniques.
“We are a brewery that makes challenging beer and is always brewing new beers,” said owner and founder Jason Yester. “Our structure is wide distribution, low volume, high margin beers–beers that take two years to make.”
They ship their beers all across the country, a process that requires the approval of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB.
“You have to get COLA [certificate of label approval] from them first,” Yester said. “After you have COLA approval you need state approval. You usually need two labels to get your beer in a state, so any beer that hasn’t been approved can’t be shipped.”
Until the shutdown ends, TTB will remain closed.
Right now, four of Trinity’s beers are waiting to be approved, Yester said the value of the craft beers is anywhere between $50,000 and $60,000.
“The reason why it threatens us is because of the low volume design. I can’t sell all that beer in Colorado,” Yester said. “It’s just too much of one single sour, and I have to ship it to other states to sell the entire batch.”
It’s a devastating blow to the brewery, especially when 70 percent of their annual revenue depends on out-of-state sales.
“These are the slowest months of the year for this business in the Front Range, January, February, March, and we need the cash flow,” Yester said. “I am worried, don’t know what to think every day I wake up.”
But even once the shutdown ends, the worry will continue due to the backlog.
“The last time there was a shutdown, the queue buildup for label submission was over three months, so right now, the earliest I am looking at seeing that income is July,” Yester said.
Yester said he can’t handle another shutdown and is looking into possibly installing a canning line so they can have a steady flow of income.