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Cortez Masto Highlights Support for Local AAPI Small Business Leaders at Roundtable and Ribbon Cutting

New craft beer taproom Taps & Barrels opens in Southwest

Small business roundtable with U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto speaking at the mic (Courtesy of Gatekeepers Industries & Co)

U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto met with 16 local AAPI small business owners and community leaders to discuss her efforts to support Las Vegas’ growing AAPI business community and highlight federal resources available to help these businesses grow. The discussion and grand opening celebration took place at Taps & Barrels, a new AAPI-owned craft beer taproom owned by Ming Liu, a Las Vegas resident and UNLV College of Hospitality alum.

Liu has nearly 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry. During the pandemic, he unfortunately got laid off from one of the hotels on the Strip. He then started his own restaurant in his neighborhood in the southwest, a growing area of the greater Las Vegas valley.

“I was thrilled to host so many AAPI small business leaders today and I’m grateful for Senator Cortez Masto’s support of Taps & Barrels and all of the AAPI community,” said Ming Liu, Taps & Barrels owner. “When the pandemic hit, my wife and I decided to embark on this journey, and I’m proud of the hard work we’ve put into this new business. I look forward to continuing to work together to grow our economy and help our families succeed.”

 The AAPI population is the fastest growing demographic in Nevada, making up about 12% of Nevada’s population. Part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill was the Minority Business Development Act of 2021, which made the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) permanent and allowed the agency to increase their programs and outreach to more minority-owned businesses. 

Assemblyman Duy Nguyen, Assemblywoman Heidi Kasama, Clark County Commissioners Michael Naft and Justin Jones were also at the ribbon cutting.

“The Senator's commitment to fostering an inclusive environment is evident through this impactful initiative,” said Catherine Francisco, CEO of AAPI Chamber. “By directly engaging with AANHPI business owners, the roundtable underscores the importance of collaborative policymaking that reflects the real-world needs and aspirations of our diverse community. This roundtable will serve as a catalyst for positive change and promote equitable opportunities.”