Founders offers minor aid for federal workers
Brewery giving discounts to those affected by government shutdown.
Although a local brewery has been affected by the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, it is also helping others who are affected.
Founders Brewery, at 235 Grandville Ave. SW, is offering government employees who are affected by the shutdown a 10 percent discount on all of its food items and $1 off its pint beers.
The shutdown, which began Dec. 22 and is still going as of press time, has left hundreds of thousands of federal employees, who work for government agencies such as the Health and Human Services Department, Justice Department, State Department, Defense Department, U.S. intelligence agencies, Homeland Security Department, Interior Department, Transportation Department, National Institutes of Health and Environmental Protection Agency, either working without pay or furloughed.
While the brewery has offered numerous discounts, this is the first time the brewery has offered discounts strictly due to a government shutdown. Mike Stevens, co-founder and CEO of Founders, said it only seemed appropriate.
“We have consumers who aren’t able to collect a paycheck and by offering a discount to folks who are being affected, we can hopefully send a message of good to the public and to our politicians,” he said.
Stevens said whenever his brewery brings out new beers, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has to approve the labels, and with the shutdown, that process has been put on hold.
“The TTB approves any beer labels to be sold for distribution just to make sure they comply with various regulations that are needed, and with the government agency shutdown, we can’t get those approvals, which means that we can’t get our schedules on releasing those beers,” he said. “Admittedly, it is a struggle that we are dealing with and we are trying to look at our summer offerings, and hopefully, we can get things back in running and get those approvals.”
Many other breweries also are affected by the shutdown, including Cedar Springs Brewing Company, at 95 N. Main St. NE, Cedar Springs.
Even though David Ringler, owner of Cedar Springs Brewing, sent in the necessary documents to the federal government for label approval before the shutdown, he said he still is waiting.
“We have one product that needs federal approval, but that is something we can wait on,” he said. “So, we are not in too bad of a shape. We hope that this gets resolved fairly quickly because we hate to see beer not go to a good home.”
The U.S. federal government partial shutdown is because federal lawmakers and President Donald Trump cannot come to an agreement on how to keep the government funded.
Stevens said the brewery will continue to offer discounts to federal employees as long as the government is shut down.
“It is our way, hopefully, of shedding some light to this and doing the right thing,” he said. “This is just obviously a small piece. Hopefully, cooler heads can prevail, the shutdown can end and people can move on.”