From brewing beer to the Biden administration: Md. business owner heads to SBA

Julie Verratti, one of the co-owners of Silver Spring, Maryland-based Denizens Brewing Company, is joining President Joe Biden’s administration.

Verratti has been hired by the Small Business Administration to serve as the associate administrator of field operations.

WTOP’s news partner Maryland Matters reported on Verratti’s new post Friday.

Verratti, who has been in business with two other partners at Denizens for seven years, is familiar with running a business. She also knows the SBA, having worked there before launching breweries and taprooms in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland.

Verratti said she knows small business owners see government as the cause of, not the solution to, many of their problems. She grew to have that feeling herself while operating Denizens.

“But I also think that government, when run well, and run in the right way, can actually bring a lot of positive impact to people,” Verratti said. “And that’s what I’m hoping to do in this position.”

The post means she’ll oversee 68 offices, and that will mean traveling at some point this year.

“The agency, I think, is really taking safety protocols very seriously,” so being on the road will have to wait for now, Verratti said.

While working at the SBA, Verratti will have a less prominent role in Denizens, which she co-owns with Emily Bruno and Jeff Ramirez. She’s waiting to see just how far she’ll have to go before stepping away from the brewing company.

“But obviously, I’m willing to do what it takes to make sure that everything is above board,” Verratti said.

Having worked in an industry that’s nearly cratered during the pandemic, Verratti said she’ll bring business know-how and empathy.

“The type of business that I co-own and operate sort of straddles the worlds of manufacturing and hospitality and retail and wholesale and logistics and agriculture,” she said. That level of experience provides her with the ability of seeing problems and possible solutions from many angles.

There are a number of programs that can help small businesses, including those that focus on access to capital, training and government contracting.

“Government should be accessible,” Verratti said, adding that she pledges to make sure “we are answering inquiries and being as available as possible to answering questions that folks have.”

“My role is to make sure that the SBA is getting information in the hands of small businesses owners so that they can use it as they see fit for their own businesses,” Verratti said.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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