Bill Would Provide More Pandemic Relief for Craft Beverage Businesses

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Legislation with bipartisan support would give craft beverage businesses the same pandemic support as bars and restaurants.

The owners of The Craft of Brewing Brewery in Ashburn say the federal government's relief packages for businesses unintentionally shorted craft beverage businesses.

The husband and wife owners of the brewery say they were able distribute in 2020, but that wasn't enough.

“For us, in smaller breweries, it's critically important to have people actually come here," Douglas Travers said.

The federal government has passed two rounds of the Paycheck Protection Program, which really helped the brewery, but then they noticed language in the bill was preventing them from a lot more help. Craft beverage businesses — breweries, wineries and distilleries — were not eligible for as much money as bars and restaurants. Since they all rely on customers in seats, the brewery said it didn’t add up and reached out to U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.).

"Virginia has over 300 small craft brewers that employ almost 15,000, so this is a big business and it has a big impact," Wexton said.

Wexton introduced a bill earlier this month to give craft beverage businesses the same support as restaurants. She said it’s gaining more sponsors every day.

For The Craft of Brewing Brewery, that would mean about $15,000.

“This new law, if it goes through, would be a great help," Travers said.

If passed, the additional money would be retroactive to December 2020.

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