Outside of furloughed federal employees, the government shutdown's effect in Eastern Jackson County can be seen most prominently in the Truman Library and Truman Home closed to visitors in Independence.
In addition, two local establishments scheduled to open soon and sell house-crafted alcohol to customers have been monitoring the shutdown, lest it mess with their business plans.
3 Trails Brewing, in the Emporium building on the Independence Square, has started to brewing its first batches of beer in anticipation of opening, but it could face some limits if the shutdown lingers.
Likewise, Evansfield Distillery in Independence could have its first batches of whiskey and rum ready to go soon but is unable to distribute packages to market.
The reason? The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau isn't available to give the required approval for labels placed on wholesale products.
Dennis Evans, co-owner of Evansfield, said he anticipated they would fermenting beginning this week, so the shutdown hasn't immediately affected business.
“We were in negotiations on that process (for labels) with our beverage attorney,” Evans said of when the shutdown happened. “It hasn't affected us in the graphic design of the label, but with the shutdown we can't submit anything.”
“Our goal is to get everything prepared, and as soon as we hear they're opened, we submit it.”
At 3 Trails, co-owner Matt Medley said they can brew to sell certain beers on tap if the shutdown remains when they open soon, but they need labels approved to sell growlers and crowlers – the large take-home glass containers and cans that are filled and sealed on-site.
Jesse Rose, who was hired in October as 3 Trails' head brewer, explained that one can brew beer for sale as long as it's made from just the four main ingredients – malt (grain, usually barley), hops, water and yeast. Adding extra elements for flavor – fruit, for example – requires federal approval, but within the four main ingredients one can still produce a wide variety of brews.
Because of that and the fact 3 Trails doesn't intend to package beer for sale right away, the shutdown shouldn't have a significant impact.
“Our revenue at first is not going to be from packaging,” Rose said.
He and Evans said the turnaround from application to approval normally would be fairly quick – a week or even a day sometimes – but because of the shutdown there will be a large backlog of applications.
“It does put a kink in our schedule, if we have product ready to put on the shelves,” Evans said. “It is what it is, but it is a deterrent to getting moving faster. If it drags on two or three months, then it's really affected us.”
BREWERY BEGINNINGS: 3 Trails Brewing existed a few years before, as brewery president Kyle Weinand had been a home brewer and thanks to Jodi Krantz of the Independence Economic Development Council got matched with Medley.
“I had bought the building and was just kind of figuring out what I wanted to do with the space,” said Medley, who is a co-owner. “It was a good building, it just needed to be refinished; it needed a breath of fresh air.”
Brian Clark is another co-owner, and the group hired Rose, a Kansas City native who had been working at Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and has earned degrees in chemistry and craft brewing.
“I'd been brewing professionally for six years. I stumbled across this, and I'm originally from here and was looking at coming back,” Rose said. “I wanted something where I could make recipes.”
The brewery can have four fermenting tanks going at once and could serve up to 20 beers on tap. The owners used repurposed barrel pieces form the walls surrounding the bar, and the bar tops are stained live-edge wood. The building has several large TVs, and in warm weather the west-facing garage doors can be opened. When the business opens later this winter, outside food will be allowed, and Medley said they are working on a delivery deal with other Square businesses.
“We want to bring quality beer to Independence and make it a fun atmosphere,” Medley said.