My apologies for the delay since the last email.
The Guild’s status, including your membership
- Both C.K. and I are now unpaid volunteers. This situation really happened at the worst possible point in our annual cycle. We’re still here for you, but we may be a little slower as we juggle family, finding new incomes, etc.
- The Board is planning to halt any expulsions for nonpayment of dues for now.
- For members who are on a recurring payments membership, those payments should now be halted and you should not be charged.
- Even without payroll, the Guild still has expenses and continues to work for you! If you’re in a position to make your dues payments (and I appreciate that most are not), please let me know.
- We do have a plan to recover and bring the Guild back to full strength over time.
How can we help you?
I streamlined our COVID-19 resources page to focus on those things that are directly in our wheelhouse. We will continue to inform you of broad developments via email, but it’s proving very difficult to keep everything timely.
I know that there is a flood of information out there that is often hard to parse. Between our Allied Members, relationships with other industry associations, and our government contacts, we should have access to tools to help educate you about how you can handle this stressful time.
So let me know. We can develop new resources. We can acquire existing resources. We may be able to host a webinar with a subject matter expert on an issue that’s of interest to you. We may be able to connect you to lawyers, accountants, and other professionals that can assist. Just reach out – we’re here to help.
The status of our request for administrative relief
On March 19, we asked the administration of Governor Kay Ivey, via letter, for 4 immediate actions to give us and our retail customers some immediate relief in the wake of the response to COVID-19. As of today, two of those have been achieved, one is effectively achieved, and one has not been achieved.
- Remove unnecessary restrictions in the ABC’s emergency rule 20-X-6-.19 (Emergency Curbside Sales Authorization). Success! On March 24, the ABC revised the emergency rule to allow 288 ounces of beer, 1 liter spirits, or 1500 mL of wine for curbside service.
- Suspension or deferral of state excise taxes on beer, wine, and liquor for 90 days. Effective success. The ABC does not typically charge penalties or interest on late payment of excise taxes. They will eventually take administrative action for non-payment, but you should be clear for a short period of time. I had hoped the Administrator would officially announce that they will not be charging a penalty for late payment, but to date he has not done so.
- Expand the order deferring sales taxes. Success. The Department of Revenue has temporarily halted penalties for late payment of sales taxes for three categories of interest to us:
- Small retailers that average less than $62,500 per month in sales for the last year,
- Any business registered with ADOR as engaging in NAICS Sector 72 activity, or
- Any other business that the Department agrees has been affected by COVID-19, which will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. You should contact the Sales and Use Division at 334-242-1490 to request relief.
- Allow ABC on- and off-premise licensees to deliver beer and wine to customers. Unfortunately, this has not been enacted. See below.
Let’s talk about delivery
Many of you have contacted me to let me know that delivery would be a good option for you. We know. We’ve been asking for delivery for almost two weeks. We continue to make a push for this, but this is a much bigger ask than curbside.
I wouldn’t hold my breath, however. The Administration’s position is that they can only make emergency rules and declarations that do not contradict state law. The ABC’s position is that delivery is contrary to state law. We’re working on a legal memo to dispute this as best we can, but I do not expect that it will be successful.
TTB allows 90-day postponement for federal excise tax-related filings
The American Craft Spirits Association seems to have the best resources for those producing or thinking about sanitizer, which is part of their general COVID-19 Resources.
The legislative session
A few of you have asked about the status of the legislative session, especially in light of the Administration’s reluctance to issue an emergency order that might contradict state law.
I sat in on a conference call with the House Speaker and Senate Pro Tem last week. They went into session today with a skeleton quorum for the sole purpose of “setting up” what they plan to do for the regular session. For now, they plan on returning late April to get through only absolutely essential legislation, such as the annual budgets. They do not plan on debating or passing any other legislation this year.
Brewers Association COVID-19 (Part 2) Impact Poll
The BA has shifted to a second poll on the impact from the coronavirus. This helps them support you through advocacy and education. Please complete here.