WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCBD) – The SC Craft Distillers Guild and Distilled Spirits Council of the US (DISCUS) on Wednesday sent a letter to the SC congressional delegation, urging lawmakers to provide distilleries more economic relief, as they continue to struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over 34 distillers in SC were represented in the letter, which outlines the vast economic contributions made by the industry pre-pandemic, exceeding 20,000 jobs and $1.6 billion in 2018.
The impacts of the industry can be felt in many sectors of the state economy, according to the letter:
“The distilled spirits industry is uniquely positioned at the nexus of the hospitality, agriculture, retail, and tourism industries. The livelihoods of farmers, glass bottle makers, truck drivers, warehouse workers, and countless others connected to the hospitality and tourism industry are compromised by the challenges confronting the distilled spirits industry.”
Those behind the letter argue that all connected industries may be compromised, as many distillers fear that they will not be able to recover from the economic hit of the pandemic. According to a nationwide survey conducted by DISCUS, as many as two-thirds of participating distillers “do not believe they will be able to sustain their businesses for more than 6 months.”
The letter outlines five steps that lawmakers should take:
- Provide Federal Excise Tax Relief
- Defer Federal Excise Taxes
- Seek the Suspension of Tariffs on Distilled Spirits
- Support the RESTAURANTS Act, which creates a revitalization fund for eligible food service establishments to keep workers employed, maintain operations, and meet financial obligations.
- Replenish funding, reopen applications, and offer expanded flexibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program administered by the Department of Treasury and Small Business Administration
To read the full text of the letter, click here.