Long road to recovery for local breweries

There are over 300 small, local breweries throughout Illinois, with each employing and serving neighbors and families throughout their communities. Like many others in the hospitality industry, these businesses have been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.

As the owner of Black Horizon Brewing Company in Willowbrook, I understand how challenging the past 12 months have been for the beer industry and the hospitality industry at large. Disaster loans and the Paycheck Protection Program helped get our business through the toughest months of the pandemic, but now those loans need to be paid back. And even as we were permitted to slowly reopen indoors, our team faced complicated and quickly changing guidelines that limited our capacity, reduced our hours and hampered our operations. Our management team cut its own working hours so that we could make sure our employees worked enough hours to put food on their tables and pay their bills.

With vaccinations increasing it's getting easier to see better days ahead, but that doesn't mean things will be back to normal. As a small business owner, I know if my business is faced with higher taxes and fees or more regulations, we will struggle more than we already are. This would undo the progress we've made over the past few months of loosened restrictions. Lawmakers in Springfield must do what they can to support small businesses and the beer industry in Illinois so we can help lead the state's economic recovery.

Charles St. Clair


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