Update on May 26, 2021: After an overwhelming response to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the application portal is now closed for new applications.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced this week that eligible businesses have until Monday, May 24, 8:00 p.m. ET, to submit applications to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF).
The Brewers Association (BA) is calling on Congress to add more funding to the RRF, which was initially funded at $28.6 billion in the American Rescue Plan. According to the SBA, the RRF program has received more than 303,000 applications, representing over $69 billion in requested funds. Eligible breweries that have not yet applied should work to submit their applications as soon as possible to help the SBA and Congress gain a broader understanding of how much additional funding is needed for the RRF.
Since May 3, the SBA has been accepting applications from all eligible applicants, but only processing and funding priority groups (women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged business owners) for the first 21 days. To date, 57% of submitted applications came from those priority groups.
The Brewers Association has been lobbying Congress to add more funds to the RRF. According to Bob Pease, president and CEO of the BA, “Taprooms and brewpubs that make the majority of their revenue from onsite sales at their brewery were overwhelmingly hurt by COVID-19. Every small and independent brewery that applied for RRF funds did so because they had revenue losses directly related to the pandemic. It is critical that Congress help these businesses by providing the necessary funding to the RRF.”
The Brewers Association also expressed concerns that the SBA’s decision to close the portal on May 24 will negatively impact their smallest members. “Congress created the RRF to help the hardest hit businesses and we are concerned that only allowing 21 days to apply for the funds will impact our smallest members who may not have the time or resources to gather the information necessary to apply to the RRF,” said federal affairs director Katie Marisic.
There are still some funds available to the smallest hospitality businesses. When the legislation was drafted, Congress set aside $5 billion for applicants with gross receipts of not more than $500,000. To ensure an equitable distribution of funds, the SBA created additional funding allocations of $500 million for applicants with 2019 gross receipts not more than $50,000, and $4 billion for applicants with 2019 gross receipts between $500,000 and $1,500,000.
As of May 18, more than $220 million of the $500 million set-aside for businesses with less than $50,000 in annual revenue remains in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Breweries can apply for the RRF using the SBA’s application portal.
Brewers Association members can use the BA’s contact Congress form to ask their legislators to pass legislation adding more funds to the RRF.