Some local taprooms and craft breweries are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic | Connecticut News

(WFSB) – Two years into the pandemic, many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat.

Among them are taprooms and craft breweries.

Thomas Hooker Brewery has three locations in Hartford County.

Hooker Live, an entertainment venue for comedy shows and live music, opened in downtown Hartford last October.

“And then omicron hit and it really decimated us being downtown,” said Curt Cameron, president of Thomas Hooker Brewing Co.

Many businesses in the area have moved away, and Cameron says they’ve taken a financial hit in order to stay open and keep things close.

“Between dry January and the unfortunate resurgence of COVID, it put a lot of restaurants and breweries in financial trouble to be quite honest with you,” Cameron said.

Senator Richard Blumenthal is calling for additional relief for breweries facing strains due to the pandemic.

“We need to replenish the restaurant revitalization program because it’s a lifeline,” Blumenthal said.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) would invest an additional $40 billion to $60 billion in small businesses.

“They chose to keep the faith with their people. Now the nation must keep the faith with breweries like this, with restaurants, caterers, everyone in the food business. Small businesses struggling to survive.

Prior to the pandemic, Connecticut’s craft beer industry was booming, averaging nearly 20 new breweries per year.

During the pandemic, eight have closed, including four since the new year.

Blumenthal says a vote on funds could take place next month and the legislation has bipartisan support in Congress.

“I think it’s a valuable investment to make in small businesses, especially in certain downtown neighborhoods,” Blumenthal said.

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