The American distilling industry thanked Congress on March 27 after U.S. politicians passed a $2 trillion stimulus package, the largest of its kind in modern history.
“We are grateful that Congress recognizes the significant contributions of the nation’s distillers in producing hand sanitizer to help fight COVID-19, and for waiving the federal excise tax on these much-needed products so that these distillers are not subjected to a tax bill for their goodwill,” says Distilled Spirits Council of the United States President Chris Swonger. “We urge the FDA to update its guidance for distillers to ensure this tax provision can be implemented.”
“The hospitality industry is one of the hardest hit by COVID-19, and many craft distilleries are facing the very real possibility that they may not be able to open their doors again when this crisis is over,” Swonger adds. “There is more to be done, and we look forward to working with Congress and the administration to ensure future success for distilleries across the United States.”
The legislative package also includes the following assistance for small businesses in the hospitality industry:
- $349 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to businesses
- $10 billion for SBA emergency grants of up to $10,000 for immediate relief for small business operating costs
- $17 billion for SBA loans to cover six months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans
- A retention tax credit for employers to encourage businesses to keep workers on payroll during the crisis
- 13 weeks of additional unemployment insurance for employees
- Up to $1,200 payments to Americans who make $75,000 or less (or $2,400 for a joint return for households making $150,000 or less) plus $500 per child with benefit tapering off for higher incomes
Last week, DISCUS and other spirits-association leaders sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, outlining measures that could aid U.S. distillers.