How to buy a furloughed fed a beer — contractors too

WASHINGTON — Beer budgets could be among expenses taking a hit for federal employees and contractors impacted by the ongoing partial government shutdown. A couple of D.C. entrepreneurs have set up a way for anyone to pay for what might be a much-needed beer or two during these stressful times.

PayItFurloughed.com launched Jan. 13 as a crowdsource-funded site, and several D.C. breweries are on board.

It’s pretty simple to pay for a few beers and for furloughed feds or contractors to claim one.

“If you want to donate a beer, simply go onto PayItFurloughed.com, and you can fund a beer there,” Nevin Martell, the crowdsourcing site’s co-creator told WTOP.

“If you’re a furloughed federal employee or contractor, all you have to do is walk into any of the participating breweries, show your ID and ask for a beer.” Martell said. “You’re welcome to have as many as you like. We do say ‘please drink responsibly.'”

Martel, a D.C.-based cookbook author and food writer, partnered with Al Goldberg, founder of D.C.’s Mess Hall, an incubator for aspiring chefs and restaurateurs to launch PayItFurloughed.com.

Breweries get reimbursed for the free beers they serve when credit card companies deposit donated funds in the PayItFurloughed account, usually in about a week.

It is also easy for breweries to make sure there is beer in the kitty to be given away.

“When you go to the website as a user, on the front page there is a listing of the number of beers that have been donated, the number of beers that have been enjoyed and the number of beers remaining,” Martell said.

“The brewery owners have access to that information as well, so they could never give somebody a beer if there were no beers in the fund,” he said.

The site can take donations from across the world.

While started locally, the effort got a boost Jan. 24, when Pabst Blue Ribbon promoted Pay It Furloughed Day in more than 25 additional cities with participating bars.

“American optimism is what our brand is all about, and there is nothing more optimistic than Americans propping each other up like this. We couldn’t be more happy to help bring this idea to the next level,” said Justin Medcraft, marketing director for Pabst Blue Ribbon.

In D.C., participating locations include Atlas Brew Works, DC Brau Brewery, Shop Made in DC and 3 Stars Brewing Company.

Funding a furloughed beer costs $7.50 each, and covers the beer, taxes and transaction expenses, with 100 percent of donations going to beer.

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