Newhouse Introduces Legislation To Help Craft Industry

Late last week Representative Dan Newhouse joined his colleagues to introduce the Fairness for Craft Beverage Producers Act. Newhouse said the bill would allow craft breweries, wineries, distilleries, and other small beverage producers that depend on in-person sales in their taprooms and tasting rooms to be eligible for a larger loan amount in the Second Draw Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

“Most of us have visited our local craft brewery or winery, and in so many ways, they bring our communities together. In Central Washington, the craft beverage industry is a huge economic driver, and like small businesses across the country, they have been devastated by the pandemic,” said Representative Newhouse. “With taprooms and tasting rooms closed around the state and decreased sales across the board, there is a real risk of watching Washington’s wine and beer industries disappear before our eyes. This bill aims to provide them the relief they need to stay afloat and eventually return to the flourishing, high-quality breweries and wineries we are so proud of.”

As a Member of the Congressional Small Brewers Caucus and co-chair of the Congressional Wine Caucus, Newhouse said he recognizes the significant impact the pandemic has had on craft beverage producers, and prolonged state-imposed shutdowns have exacerbated economic losses.

With over 1,000 wineries, more than 300 winegrape growers, and 15 unique AVAs across the state, Washington’s wine industry has a total economic impact of $9.6 billion. As of September 2020, the industry was already projected to suffer a $855 million deficit with 25% reduction in winegrape sales and a 19% reduction in wine sales.

“Congressman Newhouse has always been a great friend to not only the Washington wine industry, but to the entire American wine industry and proved it again with his sponsorship of the Fairness for Craft Beverage Producers Act,” said Josh McDonald, Executive Director of the Washington Wine Institute and Board Member of WineAmerica. “This legislation offers wineries access to critical loans designated for small businesses who need working capital to stay afloat during these difficult times.”

There are more than 400 craft breweries in Washington state producing nearly 600,000 barrels of craft beer each year. The industry has a total economic impact of $2.3 billion in Washington alone. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Washington’s beer industry has lost $1.9 billion in economic output resulting in the loss of more than 17,000 jobs and nearly $700,000 in lost wages.

“Washington’s small and independent craft breweries are places where people come together with their communities over a pint. Their taprooms have taken a big hit since the beginning of the pandemic and it’s still uncertain when things will return to normal,” said Annie McGrath, Executive Director of the Washington Brewers Guild. “We applaud Congressman Newhouse’s sponsorship of the Fairness for Craft Beverage Producers Act, which would ensure our state’s craft breweries have access to critical PPP funds that will provide a lifeline for many struggling small businesses.”

“There are more than 8,400 breweries across the U.S., the majority of whom make the majority of their revenue in their taprooms and tasting rooms. The Brewers Association applauds he introduction of this bill, and thanks Representatives Newhouse and the other congressional sponsors for recognizing that small and independent breweries need additional assistance during the pandemic,” said Bob Pease, President and CEO of the Brewers Association.

Click Here to read the details of the Fairness for Craft Beverage Producers Act.

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