Senate Passes Coronavirus Relief Bill; Brewers Association Asks Congressional Leaders for Assistance

Delivered Via Email

Dear Representative or Senator:

I write today as President and CEO of the Brewers Association (BA), the national trade association for America’s more than 8,000 small and independent craft breweries, brewpubs, and taprooms. Located in virtually every Congressional District in every state in the nation, these small brewery businesses employ approximately 150,000 workers in thousands of communities throughout the country.

Like most small businesses which do not have deep cash reserves and high lines of credit, BA members are reeling today from the deep and dire economic dislocation being caused by the ongoing – and vital – effort to combat and prevent Coronavirus (COVID-19). Craft brewers are doing their part to help American communities get beyond this crisis, but today many are on the brink of financial ruin.

In a survey of BA members conducted over the previous two days, over 500 respondents reported the following:

  • 95.1 percent predicted that sales would decrease over the next month;
  • 23.6 percent said production has stopped, and 64.4 percent said production had slowed; and
  • 56.8 percent anticipate layoffs, and another 31.4 percent said they were unsure at this time.

America’s small craft brewers and their employees need your help – and we deeply appreciate all that Congress and the Administration are doing to shore up the economy during this global pandemic. Among other things, we respectfully ask that Congress enact legislation implementing the following measures to ensure that these otherwise viable small breweries, brewpubs, and taprooms can weather this enormous national health emergency:

  • Provide small brewers with direct monetary relief in the amount of $3 billion to help cover costs associated with closures mandated by state and local officials;
  • Provide loan deferments for up to two months with no interest accruals from commercial lenders;
  • Make unemployment insurance available for all temporary laid off or furloughed employees, with no long-term negative impact on employers’ insurance premiums;
  • Provide paid sick leave for people who don’t have benefits through their employer;
  • Provide paid quarantine leave for employees of businesses shut down due to quarantine;

and

  • Provide a temporary suspension or deferral of federal excise taxes.

Additionally, your support of any broader Administration efforts to provide tax filing and/or payment relief would be greatly appreciated.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of provisions that would assist American craft brewers. And, there may be better ideas than these. But we would urge you to consider these and/or other measures to shore up this expanding, vibrant domestic industry so that it is not overwhelmed by this short-term but devastating health emergency.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Bob Pease

President and Chief Executive Officer

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