HOUSTON – Texas breweries are struggling to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.
Weeks ago, state and local officials signed orders, requiring more than 360 breweries to close to the public and shift to to-go options to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This shift has been costly to Texas brewmasters, but to the restaurant and bar industry as a whole.
A recent petition by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild called for the Texas Governor Greg Abbot to step in to help the industry and their workers.
"These changes leave many brewery workers without a job to do in a time of extreme economic duress," the organization wrote.
Craft breweries are experiencing, on average, a 71% decline in revenue since closing their taprooms, according to a survey conducted by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild via Houstonia Magazine. The report also found 90% of the respondents shifted to a beer-to-go-only model, while 67% have reduced production.
Because of the slowdown in production and sales, many businesses have started to furlough or lay off employees. According to the Brewers Guild survey, 63 percent of breweries had to go that route, and those breweries laid off about 65 percent of workers, on average, per the Houstonia.
The petition by the Brewers Guild outlined actions that the organization urged Abbott to execute to provide relief for the craft beer industry. Those measures are:
- Allow Texas breweries and brewpubs to continue the production of beer and remain open for beer-to-go sales, including take-out, drive-thru, and curbside pickup while abiding by all federal, state and local health and safety guidelines
- Temporarily allow Texas breweries and brewpubs to deliver beer directly to consumers at their homes/apartments
- Temporarily allow Texas breweries and brewpubs to make direct-to-consumer beer shipments
- Temporarily suspend the collection of TABC excise tax payments, so brewers don't have to choose between paying a tax bill and making payroll
- Issue excise tax credits for any surplus beer that is disposed of as a result of COVID-19 impacts
As of Sunday afternoon, more than 17,000 people have signed the petition. Click here to learn more.