SBA to Open Applications for Restaurant Revitalization Fund

ACSA knows the pandemic shuttered tasting rooms throughout the United States. ACSA also recognizes the pandemic wreaked havoc on the bottom line revenues for craft spirits producers. As a result, ACSA worked with its industry coalition to ensure that tasting rooms were included in the latest round of stimulus funding via the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF).

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is administering this fund and will soon begin accepting applications for a $28.6 billion government program which will provide funding to help distilleries and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. 

In a webinar on Wednesday, Patrick Kelley of SBA said a pilot registration period will begin this weekend for some Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) qualifiers who self-identified as women, veterans or socially and economically disadvantaged businesses. General registration will not open before April 30, but Kelley urged eligible businesses to review the sample application and program guide well in advance of registration. He said it is important to register early to send a strong message to Congress and the Biden Administration that $28.6 billion is probably not enough for the fund. “It’s time to practice and get your questions answered,” said Kelley. “Kind of like an open book test. You should go in there that day and nothing should surprise you and you should do it minute one that we go live.”

Applicants will be able to apply via SBA’s website, through point-of-sale vendors or by telephone, although Kelley cautioned that applications via telephone may take longer to process.

In order to be eligible, distilleries must provide documentation with their application that on-site sales to the public comprised at least 33% of gross receipts in 2019. For businesses who opened in 2020 or that have not yet opened, the applicant’s original business model should have contemplated at least 33% of gross receipts in on-site sales to the public. Kelley made clear that the sale of hand sanitizer from the tasting room (or distillery) would be included in gross revenue receipts, as would t-shirts, and any other merchandise sold from the tasting room.

This program will provide distilleries and other eligible businesses with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.

For assistance preparing your application, you can access the following:

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