AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s been five months since Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a statewide hiring freeze, affecting hundreds of state agency jobs. But saving the state millions of dollars is costing some businesses a lot of money.
That includes industries that bring in billions to the state’s economy, like craft beer.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, TABC, says the hiring freeze affected 20 positions, one of which is a beer and wine label approver.
“Right now we have another person doing that job, but that person has multiple duties in addition to label approval right now,” said Christopher Porter, a TABC spokesman.
TABC says the average wait time for labels is about 40 days and while they are down a person in that area, there is an upside.
“We are happy to say that within the last month or so, we have managed to reduce the average wait time for label approval by about five days and we are also looking at other ways to speed up that process internally and hopefully get that wait time reduced even further.”
Adelbert’s Brewery has been pouring, canning and bottling in north Austin since 2011. They know the importance of labels to the overall process of making a good product.
“You don’t want to brew it until it’s coming so it does you no good to have beer ready in a fermenter if you don’t have a label to put on it,” said Sarah Haney, manager at Adelbert’s.
Without getting labels approved on time, it delays the production and ultimately getting the product on the shelves when they want it to. “The hiring of a person to help approve labels is something I’ve been hoping for a lot because we pay to submit a label so there are funds hopefully to help fund the position. But it has been an issue that’s been ongoing for a long time,” Haney said.
The TABC says they’ve been dealing with a higher demand, a lot of people in Texas want to make beer.
“It’s a tremendous amount of volume that we are working with, and again, that’s no excuse, we do want to get the wait down as best we can but we hope the brewers understand that we are working with thousands of brewers across the state,” Porter said.
The TABC has applied for four waivers with the Governor’s Office, all of which are pending right now.
More than 50 other agencies have requested waivers. Last week, the governor granted permission to fill dozens of positions in some agencies. When Abbott announced the freeze in January, he said he hoped to save about $200 million in anticipation of a budget shortfall.
The freeze runs through Aug. 31.