Beer Man

Nonprofit Beer Associations Lay Off Staff After Hard Hits From Pandemic

Brewers Association
Both the Colorado Brewers Guild and the Brewers Association, which represents craft breweries nationwide, had to lay off a significant portion of their staffs this week as the two nonprofits face serious funding shortages because of canceled events and fundraisers that keep money flowing in normal years.

The Guild, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary with an online party on Saturday, laid off one of its two staff members after having to cancel its two signature events in 2020: Collaboration Fest (April) and the Brewers Rendezvous (July). That leaves the organization with just its director, Shawnee Adelson.

The BA, meanwhile, laid off nearly a quarter of its staff, leaving the organization with 52 employees, after having to cancel some of its major events, including the Craft Brewers Conference, World Beer Cup, SAVOR and first-round judging of the National Homebrew Competition.

"The Brewers Association’s fortune mirrors that of our craft beer community. Like many of you, our members, we will be forever changed by the pandemic and economic crisis facing our organization," the BA said. "Last week, in order to maintain the long-term viability of the Brewers Association, we made the difficult decision to lay off 23 percent of our staff. We continue to work with all affected individuals, to the greatest extent that we’re able, to help them navigate this transition. We have also enacted tiered salary reductions for our management team. These steps are in addition to the operational budget cuts made earlier this month.

"We thoughtfully, carefully, and painfully weighed options to arrive at those decisions. We believe these actions will help the association weather the storm at this time and to remain committed to its purpose — to promote and protect American craft brewers, their beers, and the community of brewing enthusiasts."
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes