This website lets you buy craft beer for federal workers affected by the US government shutdown
We’re now well into the third week of the US government shutdown, and while federal workers are still waiting to get paid, local breweries are throwing them a lifeline.
Locals in Washington D.C’s food and drinks scene have launched PayitFurloughed.com, a website that allows people to donate a beer to a civil servant while government services are in purgatory.
Key parts of the US government shut down on 22 December after President Donald Trump and lawmakers failed to reach a deal to allocate $5 billion to fund the construction of a Mexican border wall.
The shutdown, which ends funding for around 25% of federal services and leaves 800,000 members of staff without pay, means that government agencies must postpone all non-essential work until the government is restored.
But craft breweries Atlas Brew Works, D.C. Brau, event space Mess Hall and food writer Nevin Martell have teamed up with a local software company to build a digital platform that grants federal workers to the ability to pick up a free beer from the brewers, depending on how many donations have been made. Those who wish to donate can send out one beer for US$7.50 (£5.84), two for $15, or a six-pack for $45.
At the time of writing, 839 beers have been donated to government staff.
The website features a live tacker so that employees can check how many free beers are available to order from Atlas and D.C. Brau’s sites. Staff who have been “furloughed” can then visit the breweries and get free drinks when they display their federal identification. There is no limit on how many free beers a government employee can collect.
The group is also encouraging other breweries in the area to take part, and food donations could soon be in the pipeline. The group is currently “partnering with several D.C. restaurants who are feeling the shutdown pinch and want to help keep federal employees fed,” according to its website.
The price covers the cost of the beer, including 10% D.C. sales tax, credit card processing fees, and website maintenance.
Government workers will still be able to use the system up to seven days after the shutdown is over.
Craft breweries themselves have become an unexpected casualty of the shutdown, with many reporting that they are unable to register new beer labels and release new products while the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is closed.