Maria Elvira Salazar Goes to Bat for Craft Beverage Producers, Wants to Reform PPP

U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., the top Republican on the U.S. House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure, is championing U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., “Fairness for Craft Beverage Producers Act.”

The bill would reform the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to include craft beverage production companies by giving them the same benefits that small restaurants and bars have.

“These craft beverage producers were inadvertently excluded from increased maximum PPP loan amount eligibility, which is designed to aid the hardest-hit small businesses like restaurants and bars. The bill makes a similar correction to fix an oversight which excluded these businesses from receiving extended debt relief on other loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA),” Salazar’s office noted. “The Second Draw PPP Loan program was designed to help small restaurant and bar owners by increasing the maximum loan amount available to them from 2.5x monthly payroll costs to 3.5x. Unfortunately, however, because craft beverage producers are classified with a different NAICS code than restaurants and bars, these small businesses that rely on in-person sales just like any other bar or restaurant are unable to take advantage of this larger maximum loan amount, putting their livelihoods and thousands of jobs at risk.

“This bill would correct this oversight by making craft beverage producers that are reliant on in-person sales eligible for the 3.5x maximum loan amount. Craft producers that have already applied for a Second Draw PPP loan would also be made retroactively eligible for this expanded assistance,” the congresswoman’s office added.

“Over 80 percent of our local small businesses employ less than 10 people. Our South Florida craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries have created and supported thousands of jobs across our community,” said Salazar on Thursday. “I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan Fairness for Craft Beverage Producers Act alongside my colleague, Congresswoman Wexton, that provides full access to the Paycheck Protection Program loans to local small brewers and distillers. I look forward to continuing working in a bipartisan fashion to deliver immediate COVID-19 relief for our struggling local job creators.”

“Craft beverage producers who rely on on-premise sales have been some of the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like restaurants and bars, they’ve closed or significantly reduced capacity in their taprooms and tasting rooms, making business all but impossible during the cold winter months,” said Wexton. “I’ve spoken with many of these small businesses owners across our district. Unfortunately, many are hanging by a thread, taking things week by week and doing all they can to keep their doors open. These small businesses drive our local economy, support jobs across our district, and add to the vibrancy and character of our region. We must swiftly correct this oversight in the second round of the PPP to keep our favorite breweries, wineries, and distilleries afloat through the next few months of this crisis.”

The bill was sent to the Small Business Committee on Thursday. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

KEVIN DERBY
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