COVID-19 Adds Urgency to Distilled Spirits Industry’s Public Policy Conference

Public Policy Conference

Distillers from across the country will gather virtually September 15-16 for the distilled spirits industry’s annual Public Policy Conference co-hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA).

“With the looming expiration of the federal excise tax cut, COVID-19 and tariffs, there is a palpable sense of urgency surrounding this year’s public policy conference,” said DISCUS President & CEO Chris Swonger. “The pandemic may keep distillers from Washington, D.C., but we must still make our voices heard on Capitol Hill on these critical issues. This is by far the most challenging legislative and sales environment distillers have faced since Prohibition.”

“As our industry slowly and safely crawls back from the profound, sweeping impacts of COVID-19 on our businesses, some of which remain closed today, we face the imminent threat of an unfathomable Federal Excise Tax hike come January 1, 2021, one that will certainly seal the unfortunate fate of many of our distilleries who are still struggling to recover,” said Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO, American Craft Spirit Association. “Though this pandemic has hindered our ability to visit our legislators in person to reinforce the urgency of permanent relief, we will work diligently to ensure our stories are shared from afar as we advocate for our community of small distilleries.”

This year’s conference will feature a series of legislative and regulatory sessions on key federal issues impacting the distilling industry and unite the industry in calling for economic relief from Congress in the wake of COVID-19.

As part of the conference, craft distillers will participate in virtual congressional visits with their home state legislators to discuss the extreme hardships craft distilleries are facing and urge support for the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 1175/S. 362). This critical legislation makes permanent a federal excise tax cut on distilled spirits that was enacted in 2017. Without congressional approval, craft distillers will face a 400 percent tax increase in 2021 that will greatly hinder the industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

Conference attendees include distillers, owners or operators of distilled spirits plants, sales teams, investors and spirits industry suppliers.