Trade bodies urge financial aid for US distillers

20th March, 2020 by Nicola Carruthers

Four trade associations have written a joint letter to US Congress calling for swift economic relief for distilleries facing “enormous financial hardship” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Four trade groups have written to US Congress to ask for a number of measures to help distillers

The Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus), American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA), New York State Distillers Guild (NYSDG), and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) have called on senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and senate minority leader Chuck Schumer to aid distillers through an economic relief package.

The group said in the letter: “Across the United States, our member distilleries are doing their part to help prevent the spread of covid-19 and ensure the health and safety of their workers and the public.

“However, because of the necessary measures being undertaken, including the closures of restaurants, bars, and tasting rooms, many distillers will soon need to lay off employees and delay or reduce production. Many may even be forced to close their doors permanently.”

The letter noted that these developments are “having a devastating ripple effect throughout the entire supply chain” and will hit farmers, glass bottle makers, truck drivers, warehouse workers and many others connected to the spirits industry.

The association’s heads are urging Congress to provide four “critical” components to distillers including a freeze on federal excise tax relief for one year until 31 December 2020 and a waive on interest on late payments, “robust” no- and low-interest loan assistance, a suspension of tariffs on spirits and the creation of an industry stablisation fund.

The letter also called for a de-escalation of the trade dispute with the European Union (EU) and the simultaneous removal of tariffs on EU and US spirits.

“Absent relief, the US distilled spirits industry faces a tremendous threat, which would also have negative consequences for our related industries,” the letter warned.

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