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Spirits Industry Calls On U.S. Government For Relief

March 20, 2020

A group of spirits industry trade organizations, including DISCUS and the American Craft Spirits Association, has sent a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asking Congress to provide financial relief to distilleries across the country.

The groups are asking Congress for federal excise tax relief, no- and low-interest loan assistance, the suspension of tariffs on spirits, and for the federal government to create a fund to maintain stability across the spirits industry. Their letter cited the dramatic uncertainty facing the industry and the potential for a ripple effect—damaging bottle makers, truck drivers, warehouse workers, and other related industries—if the pandemic causes distilleries to close.

“The unknown extent of these existing closures, and possible future closures, is creating tremendous anxiety in the distilling community,” said Jessica Pendergrass, general counsel at Heaven Hill and chairwoman of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. “The closure of restaurants and bars, closure of ABC facilities in certain states, and ongoing taxes and tariffs add even more strain to many distillers.” In addition to DISCUS and ACSA, the letter was signed by the New York State Distillers Guild and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.—Shane English

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