Senator Blumenthal seeks federal relief funds for CT breweries


MANCHESTER, Conn. – The restaurant and retail industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and Connecticut’s breweries and taprooms are no exception.

“Everything is more expensive, consumer behavior has changed, the whole nature of how we operate has changed,” said Adam Delaura, owner of Labyrinth Brewing Company in Manchester.

Connecticut has lost seven breweries since the start of the pandemic, according to the Connecticut Breweries Guild; four of them have closed in the past month, including Better Half Brewing in Bristol.

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“It was tough for the breweries when the pandemic hit, you know, the tap rooms closing and a lot of these breweries are making money direct to the consumer, so it was really tough for them,” Kevin said. Mardorf from CTBeer.com.

Of Connecticut’s 125 breweries, 17 have received federal funding.

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U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is calling for a replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Blumenthal said there was initially $28.6 billion in the fund, but he is pushing for another investment of $40 billion to $60 billion.

“There are probably 2,000 other restaurants, breweries and the like that need this money and I’m going to make it a bipartisan priority,” Blumenthal said at a press conference on Friday.

Delaura’s business said the funding has helped its business stay open and retain its staff.

“This funding is essential for us to survive and pivot with what has happened with COVID,” Delaura said.

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Blumenthal said it would take an appropriation bill to get that funding.

Mardorf said another way consumers are supporting Connecticut breweries is by shopping locally at bundle stores or heading straight to a local tavern.

Elisha Machado is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.

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