The Brewers Association announced today that is partnering with the nonprofit group Bottleshare on a relief fund for breweries facing financial hardship due to the pandemic.
The Believe in Beer Fund will support independent breweries and state brewers’ guilds that apply for financial assistance. The aid is meant for operational expenses such as payroll, rent, or utility bills, the BA says in the announcement. There is a Gofundme site for the effort here.
The widespread public effort to slow the coronavirus by staying at home and practicing social distancing has presented an unprecedented challenge for the hospitality industry. Bars, taprooms, and draft beer have gone into hibernation, as breweries have pivoted to curbside, to-go, and delivery sales in a bid to stay afloat until local economies can safely reopen.
In the most recent BA member survey, released April 7, almost half of respondents (46 percent) said that their breweries could last another one to three months, but no longer. About 13 percent said they could last only another four weeks.
Bottleshare is a nonprofit based in Kennesaw, Georgia. Its founder, Christopher Glenn, started the group in 2018. On January 6 of that year, after closing the taproom at Dry County Brewing, he was on his way home when he was struck by a drunk driver. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and sever neurological damage, among other injuries. While recovering, he and Trey Sinclair, founder of Dry County Brewing, established a fundraising effort to offer discounted Lyft rides for brewery patrons. The program expanded to support small grants for brewery workers who suffer extreme difficulties outside the workplace.
“Bottleshare was created to support industry workers and their families when they experience hardships,” Glenn says in the announcement. “During this uncertain time, when support is needed more than ever, we’re proud to join efforts with the Brewers Association to reciprocate the love and strength that characterize the craft-beer community and help the breweries that make it so special.”
The Gofundme site lists a goal of $1 million. The fundraising effort runs through the end of American Craft Beer Week on May 17.
“This is a very challenging time for breweries, and their livelihoods are at risk,” says Bob Pease, BA president and CEO, in the announcement. “The craft-beer community is rooted in collaboration and philanthropy, and now is our chance to come together and give back to our most vulnerable breweries.”