Members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate will be back in their districts and home states in early August for their annual month-long recess. For members of Congress, August means getting out of D.C. and getting back home. It's a chance for them to reconnect with constituents in their districts and begin to prepare for the campaign season.
For you, these four or five weeks are your best opportunity to get them into your business, face to face with your employees and educated about what's important to small brewers. Now is the time to invite your members of Congress to visit your brewery for a personal tour and for them to see first-hand what you do as a small brewery business.
And while you're discussing your business and the value you bring to your local community and economy, it's also an opportune time to discuss ways your federal representatives can directly support you and all small brewers. There are two very important "asks" for you to make:
- Support small brewer graduated excise tax legislation H.R. 494 or S. 917 by becoming a co-sponsor.
To help you prepare, resources, talking points, economic benefits and House and Senate co-sponsor lists are just a click away.
- Join the House Small Brewers Caucus or the Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus. Joining is an easy way for them to show meaningful support for you as their constituent and to build the strength of our collective voice in Washington, D.C.
All the resources you need to make the ask - background information, talking points and a roster of current Caucus members - can be found here: House Small Brewers Caucus, Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus
- If your members of Congress are already Caucus members and/or co-sponsors, PLEASE THANK THEM!
Loud and Proud - Invite the Media
A visit from a member of Congress is also a great local media opportunity. Invite the press to join you and your elected officials on the visit - members of Congress love getting local ink (especially if they are up for election in November) and you get great exposure for your brewery. Take a look at this recent example of the kind of exposure that's possible when a U.S. Senator visits a local brewery.
This is Easier than You Think
The invitation can be made with a quick phone call or email. The visit itself will only take an hour of your time, but will keep paying returns on the local and national levels. And, it's easy. To find contact information for all your elected officials, link to Project Vote Smart and follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Enter your brewery's nine digit zip code (this is important because some 5 digit zips can be covered by several legislators) in the "Search" box in the upper right hand corner of the Vote Smart home page.
Step 2: You will be taken to a results page where you will expand the "Congressional" option, thereby displaying your two U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative. By clicking on the individual names, you will be taken to a page devoted to that individual legislator where you will need to scroll down to find office and contact information on the right hand side of the page.
Step 3: Identify the district office contact information for arranging the visit. Please phone the office to make your request, asking to speak with the scheduler. If there is more than one district office, determine which is the nearest to your brewery and call that one.
For further resources, including information on certain Congressional rules that apply to such visits, see the BA's Connect with Elected Officials web page.
If you have any questions or if you need help with contact information for state/district directors or schedulers, please email one of us for assistance. And finally, stay in touch and let us know how your visit goes.