The Impact of Showing Up: Hill Climb Scheduled for July 25-26, 2023

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Over the past five years, thanks to the Brewers Association’s (BA) efforts, small and independent breweries have saved or been granted approximately $2 billion dollars from the federal government thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), and Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA). These grants and tax reductions have helped the industry reinvest in their breweries, hire new employees, and weather the shutdowns and debts incurred during the pandemic.

2018. The year recalibrated excise tax rates from CBMTRA went into effect, small and independent breweries created a total of 15,000 new jobs. 10,000 more than in 2017. Prior to 2018, breweries were creating an average of 5,000 new jobs a year.

2019. Small and independent breweries produced more barrelage than any year in their history. Many new breweries started packaging their product; canning lines were the most popular investment breweries made with the money they saved thanks to the CBMTRA.

2020. On March 18, 2020, the Brewers Association surveyed its members on the impact of COVID-19. 87% of respondents had closed their taproom or brewpub, and 61% anticipated layoffs. The first and second rounds of PPP and Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) helped many breweries retain employees, and at the end of 2020, the number of operating U.S. craft breweries reached an all-time high with only 431 craft brewery closings.

2021. The Brewers Association lobbied to ensure that breweries were included in the businesses that could receive the grants, helping to provide more than $400 million in direct grants for 1,600 small and independent breweries.

2022. Despite overall beer sales being down 3%, the more than 9,500 small and independent breweries across the U.S. directly employed more than 184,000 people beating pre-pandemic numbers.

I am not saying that it is all sunshine and rainbows. The past few years have been difficult for many in our industry, but it could have been worse. Without legislation like CBMTRA, PPP, and RRF, we could have seen more small and independent breweries close. And you know who we should thank for that? Congress yes, but also ourselves.

The Brewers Association and our members have been lobbying Congress for more than 15 years, growing our political influence along with brewing industry. Without the relationships that we built with our federal elected officials, we may have never seen the CBMTRA made permanent, and we wouldn’t have been included in the RRF legislation. It is also unlikely that the Administration would have addressed alcohol in the executive report on competition, and that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau would be looking for comments on trade practice violations.

We have been successful because we showed up, and because we worked together for the good of all breweries. We need to keep doing that! You’ve all heard the saying, “If you aren’t at the table, you are on the menu.” Small and independent breweries have earned our seat at the table, and we intend to keep it, but we need your help.

On July 25 and 26, the Brewers Association will be hosting our annual hill climb in Washington, D.C. This is your opportunity to show up and advocate on behalf of your business and your community. It is critical that small and independent breweries connect with their elected officials and continue to grow our political and legislative influence. You can learn more and register for the event by visiting our hill climb website or reaching out to the sr. director of federal affairs Katie Marisic.

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