Last week, U.S. Representative Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) introduced the Fairness for Craft Beverage Producers Act (H.R. 1035), a bill to provide parity for tasting rooms and distilleries with respect to SBA loans and the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) borrowing. The bill already has bipartisan co-sponsorship.
The American Craft Spirits Association is urging members of ACSA and state guilds to contact their Representatives and encourage co-sponsorship of this important bill.
As background, the Second Draw PPP Loan program was authorized as part of the bipartisan COVID-19 relief deal signed into law in December 2020. The program increases the maximum loan amount from 2.5 times monthly payroll costs to 3.5 times for small businesses in the hospitality industry such as restaurants and bars that have faced the greatest impacts of the pandemic. Additionally, the SBA will make principal and interest payments for five additional months for businesses in food service and hospitality for a total of eight months for those with a 7(a) SBA loan. The payments are capped at $9,000 a month. As we all know, our tasting rooms function much like a bar, and just like bars and restaurants, we have been hit hard with closures and restrictions on customers.
ACSA is supporting the bill, and with enough support and co-sponsors in Congress, Rep. Wexton hopes to pass it soon. Please call your Representative in Congress and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 1035.