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Zipline Brewing Co. does seasonal beers in both the summer and fall, as well as a half-dozen small batches each year.

While the company plans well ahead with all of its federal and state filings, delays are likely to be inevitable this year if the federal government shutdown continues.

"We are generally ahead of the curve on filings and try to do as much in advance as we can," said Tom Wilmoth, one of the owners of the Lincoln-based craft brewer.

But Wilmoth said all of those projects "will be held up" if the shutdown continues.

The Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has to sign off on all new beer labels and formulations, and with the shutdown ready to enter its fourth week, many of those activities have been delayed or suspended.

"They usually process labels in 10 days or so, but now it’s 45, and the backlog is growing daily," Wilmoth said in an email.

He said that even after the shutdown is over and federal offices reopen, Zipline expects to wait up to 90 days to get necessary approvals.

"Pretty much anyone who ships beer out of state is affected, potentially," Wilmoth said.

While most people understand that the shutdown affects federal employees because they don't get paid, they are unaware of myriad other ways it affects everyday people.

For example, people using a rural loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase a home may be out of luck.

CNBC reported that the USDA's mortgage program for low- and middle-income rural residents is not issuing any new loans.

An attempt to contact the local USDA office to see how many people might be affected in Nebraska was met with an email message that said: "This U.S. Department of Agriculture office is currently closed, due to the lapse in federal government funding. The office will reopen once funding is restored."

Ben Barrett, branch manager and home loan adviser at First Bank, said "nothing is happening" with USDA loans locally because of the office closure.

Barrett said mortgages have been affected in other ways as well.

When the shutdown started, the Internal Revenue Service was not providing income tax return transcripts, which are needed for some mortgages. However, he said the agency resumed providing them this past week.

Still, "there might have been some deals that got hung up by that," Barrett said.

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He also said that furloughed federal employees in the process of buying a home are seeing the deals put on hold, "because right now they don't have a verifiable income."

Even in areas where the government is still operating as usual, there are hiccups.

While Congress has been quick to stress that people receiving food aid through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will still get their benefits, those in the program got a surprise Friday.

They were told they have to recertify for their February benefits by Tuesday because the federal government wants to issue them early.

The 74,000 or so recipients in Nebraska will get their February benefits on Jan. 20, but they will have to stretch them until March. They also risk missing out if they don't get recertified by Tuesday, and people newly eligible for benefits may have to wait a month if they don't meet the earlier deadline.

Matthew Wallen, director of the state's Division of Children and Family Services, said in a news release Friday that division employees are working over the weekend to process recertifications and new applications to make sure recipients get their February benefits.

The shutdown entered its 21st day Friday, tying for the longest ever. It also was the day hundreds of thousands of federal workers missed their first paycheck.

Among the other effects of the shutdown are suspension of some food inspection activities and the shutdown of many services provided by the Federal Trade Commission, including the Do Not Call Registry and identity theft reporting.

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This article contains material from The Associated Press.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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