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Local Beer Caught In Government Shutdown Aftermath

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- The Government Shutdown ended a while ago, but it's still having an impact on some businesses -- and some beer drinkers.

Craft beers are regulated by the federal government, along with all other alcoholic beverages and their paperwork wasn't processed during the shutdown. So, one local beer got caught in the middle.

Mike Zanetti has been hauling kegs, making sales calls and doing just about everything since he launched Lake Monster Brewing about six weeks ago. His beer is now on tap at more than a dozen bars and restaurants around the Twin Cities, including McCoy's Public House in St. Louis Park.

And, it has been very popular.

"When Lake Monster came in I was thinking it would be kind of slow," said McCoy's Bar Manager Nick Collins, "but it started a keg a week and stayed consistent through that. So people came to it because it was new, and they're coming back to it because they like it."

But it's not in bottles anywhere. At least not yet.

"We got our label and six-pack carrier artwork done," Zanetti said. "We submitted it to the Feds, and then the government shut down."

Lake Monster got caught in a bottleneck when the government shut down. Keg labels had been approved, so those could be sold, but bottle labels were still in limbo. And because they got stuck behind hundreds of seasonal beers, the labels weren't approved until a few days ago, meaning Zanetti won't have labels printed and bottles in stores for another four weeks.

"We would have product in bottles right now," he said, "and I would be delivering to liquor stores, as well."

Still, despite the delays, he's philosophical about all the government oversight.

"If you could just willy nilly start making moonshine out of your garage and selling it, I don't think that's such a good idea," he said.

Lake Monster Brewing is starting with a Pilsner and an IPA, but there are plans to add more beers. And if they do, the government will have to approve those labels, too.

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