Beer industry calls for $5 billion in federal assistance over coronavirus pandemic

The Beer Institute and other alcohol beverage producers’ groups are seeking $5 billion to sustain them through the coronavirus pandemic.

Their call for help follows calls from the airline, casino, and movie theater industry who are also seeking government funds.

TheHill reports the Beer Institute and other alcohol beverage producers’ groups wrote to congressional leadership to ask for a stabilization fund of $5 billion to provide cash advances to their businesses in order to sustain them through the coronavirus pandemic.

“Absent relief, a large number of distilleries, breweries, wineries, and cideries may be forced to permanently close their doors as a result of COVID-19. Producers across the country have begun already shutting down and suspending production as tourism precipitously declines, bars and restaurants close, and Americans stay home to prevent the further spread of COVID-19,” the groups wrote in a letter sent on Wednesday.

They asked that Congress consider expanding unemployment insurance, suspending payroll taxes, providing federal excise tax relief and no- and low-interest loan assistance and creating the $5 billion stabilization fund so businesses have enough receivables to pay their employees and to borrow against.

The alcoholic beverage sector overall supports over 5.4 million jobs and generated more than $562 billion in economic activity in 2018, according to the letter. The beer industry specifically supports more than 2.1 million jobs and contributes over $328 billion annually.

The letter was signed by CEOs from the Beer Institute, Brewers Association, Wine Institute, WineAmerica, Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS), American Craft Spirits Association, American Cider Association and the American Mead Makers Association.