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(Hampton, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) this morning toured Smuttynose Brewery’s new facility with Smuttynose founder and president Peter Egelston to kick off summer tourism season in New Hampshire and highlight the industry’s importance to the state’s economy. Smuttynose recently opened the new $24 million brewing facility at Towle Farm in Hampton and the new facility will feature brewery tours, a restaurant and will eventually be able to grow ingredients for brewing on premises. Tourism is one of New Hampshire’s largest industries supporting more than 60,000 full and part-time jobs.

“Companies like Smuttynose play a critical role in our economy and are important drivers of tourism in New Hampshire - just like the entire food and beverage and service industry,” Shaheen said. “Destinations like Smuttynose draw tourism dollars that fuel jobs and our economy year round and we have to make sure we’re supporting them however we can in order to further create jobs and help small businesses grow.”

Direct spending by people visiting New Hampshire was $4.48 billion in 2012 producing more than $151 million in revenue for the state through meals and rooms taxes.

Senator Shaheen has been a vocal proponent of programs that help small businesses grow and create jobs. She supported funding increases for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) - a program that helped Smuttynose Brewery expand in the form of a $251,000 grant that helped build its new facility. Last year, Shaheen also successfully passed a permanent reauthorization of the SBA 504 refinancing program - which supported nearly 500 loans for a total of $144 million dollars in New Hampshire in FY 2013– in the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. Shaheen also helped break ground on the new Manchester Job Corps, which will train young people in New Hampshire for careers in the advanced manufacturing, construction, health care, homeland security, hospitality and information technology industries.