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The public health and economic crisis brought on by COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on Texas’ small and independent craft breweries and the thousands of Texans they employ. In a survey of brewery members last week, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild found that the average revenue decline these small businesses are experiencing due to the crisis is 71 percent and 63 percent of responding breweries have been forced to lay off or furlough staff as a result.
To help Texas small breweries and their workers weather this economic crisis, and allow Texans to continue getting local beer while limiting person-to-person contact, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild has launched a petition requesting that Governor Greg Abbott exercise his emergency powers to grant several relief measures that could make a difference in many businesses’ survival. These measures, now supported by over 16,000 petition signees, include the temporary suspension of excise tax collection, an excise tax credit for any surplus beer that is disposed of as a result of COVID-19 impacts and the ability for breweries to temporarily deliver and ship their beer directly to consumers.
Key survey takeaways from responding breweries:
- 71% is the average revenue decline Texas craft breweries have experienced due to COVID-19
- 63% of responding breweries have had to lay off or furlough employees (those breweries laid-off 65% of their employees on average).
Adjustments breweries have made to their businesses in the face of COVID-19:
- 90% have shifted to selling Beer-To-Go via drive-thru, curbside pickup or takeout
- 78% have shifted to more packaged product than draft
- 67% have reduced beer production
- 27% have temporarily stopped beer production and/or are just managing current inventory
- 14% have temporarily closed
Level of importance the temporary relief measures the Texas Craft Brewers Guild has proposed would play to responding breweries’ businesses:
- 91% consider direct-to-consumer delivery important
- 89% consider direct-to-consumer shipping important
- 78% consider expediting label approval to get packaged beer to off-premise retailers faster important
- 94% consider the temporary suspension of TABC excise tax collection important
- 79% consider an excise tax credit for surplus beer disposed of due to COVID-19 impacts important
- 92% of responding breweries said, if implemented, they are at least somewhat likely to engage in direct to-consumer delivery, shipping AND expedited label approval to get packaged products to market.
Statistics are based on survey results from 68 Texas craft breweries, representing approx. 34% of the TCBG’s operating brewery members.
“The craft brewing industry is driven by the entrepreneurial spirit, a strong sense of community, and a passion for well-crafted beer,” Texas Craft Brewers Guild Executive Director Charles Vallhonrat said. “These small manufacturing and hospitality-driven businesses thrive because of the sense of family they create among craft beer lovers, their fans, and their teams — from brewer, to cellar operator, to sales associate, to taproom bartender. Our members tell us daily how they are working feverishly to adjust to the rapidly changing business environment during this tragic health and safety crisis, with the primary goal of protecting their employees and customers. Giving these small businesses the tools they need to ensure they can protect their own and serve their community is our ﬁrst priority and we are certain Governor Abbott and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Industry also want to ensure the health and economic safety of this vital Texas industry.”