USA: Beer industry asks for $5 billion stabilization fund

In order to stand the Corona pandemic, The Beer Institute, Brewers Association and other alcohol beverage producers' groups have asked for a stabilization fund of USD 5 billion to provide cash advances to their businesses.

“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 to congressional leadership sent on Wednesday.

The USD 5 billion stabilization fund is intended to give businesses enough receivables to pay their employees and to borrow against. In addition, the groups asked that Congress consider suspending payroll taxes, providing federal excise tax relief, expanding unemployment insurance and no- and low-interest loan assistance.

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. The alcoholic beverage sector overall supports over 5.4 million jobs and generated more than USD 562 billion in economic activity in 2018, according to the letter.

Among the alcoholic beverage industry, the 7,000 breweries in the United States contribute alone over USD 328 billion that flow each year through channels of American trade and commerce. From agricultural products, can manufacturing, bottling, food processing, food stores and general retail, to wholesaling, construction and real estate, brewers, along with their wholesale and retail partners, directly or indirectly employ more than 2.1 million Americans who earn more than USD 101 billion in wages and benefits.

Next to the beverage industry, also other industries are asking for a relieve during the crisis. Hardest hit are the airline industry and the tourism sector. Besides, the National Restaurant Association, the International Franchise Association, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Retail Federation, amongst many others, have asked for government support.

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