NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Tennessee distilleries and other hospitality-oriented businesses have taken a hard hit as a result of the sudden coronavirus-induced downturn. Distilleries have suspended tours, cancelled large events, and ceased production in order to minimize the risk to employees and guests and prevent further spread of the virus throughout the state. While Tennessee distillers are eager to cooperate in containing the spread of COVID-19, some distilleries fear that these measures may put them out of business for good.
In a letter to Governor Bill Lee, Kris Tatum, president of the Tennessee Distillers Guild, pleaded for relief for business owners in these hard-hit industries:
As president of the Tennessee Distillers Guild, I ask you to utilize your power of executive order to help business owners in the distilling, brewing and hospitality industries immediately. Temporary relief from payroll, gallonage and liquor by the drink taxes during these times will allow the very businesses that put their heart, soul and savings into rural and urban area revitalization efforts still be in business after we work through the current challenges everyone is facing.
Focus on big business help is great for the country as a whole, but the billions in tax revenue, both directly from these industries' members, as well as the millions of visitors that come to visit distilleries, breweries, restaurants and lodging should not be overlooked. Do not abandon us.
We've built our business not with massive tax or economic development grants and funding, but from desire to follow our heart and passion in these industries. We give the Nissans, Volkswagens, and other multinational corporations reasons to move to and expand to these areas we call home.
We don't have the voice of airline, cruise and energy companies, but we are the voices of Tennessee business owners in cities large and small, and we need to be heard. We're looking for support from the men and women in the legislature that love to use our successes to voice their successes.
The Tennessee Distillers Guild is a membership organization that consists of 32 Tennessee distilleries. More than 6.6 million people visited Tennessee Distillers Guild distilleries last year and more than 54% of distilled spirits exported out of the U.S. come from Tennessee. The Tennessee Distillers Guild is desperately urging state and federal legislators to come to their aid – and fast – in order to protect the livelihoods of its members and the nearly 2,000 people they employ.
"Shutting down all sources of revenue for four to six weeks is rough for our distilleries," said Tatum. "We will have members of our family that will be forced to close down permanently if we don't get relief soon."
About the Tennessee Distillers Guild:
The Tennessee Distillers Guild is a membership organization that consists of 32 Tennessee distilleries and associate members. The mission of the Tennessee Distillers Guild is to responsibly promote and advocate for the distilling industry in Tennessee through the collective voice of its members. In June 2017, the Tennessee Distillers Guild launched the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, a 26-stop tour of Tennessee distilleries across the state. For more information about the Tennessee Distillers Guild, visit www.tndistillersguild.org.
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SOURCE Tennessee Distillers Guild