Craft Beverage Bill to Ease Taxes for Brewers Reintroduced in Congress

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On Monday, January 31, the Craft Beverage Moderation and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 747/S. 236) was reintroduced in both the Senate and House after originally being put forth during the 114th Congress in 2015.

The bill is supported by both beer industry groups, the Brewers Association (BA) and the Beer Institute (BI), and seeks to recalibrate the current federal excise tax structure for U.S. brewers and other alcohol producers, as well as foster economic growth and job creation in the brewing industry, the BA said.

According to Brewbound, the Craft Modernization and Tax Reform Act was created after years of debate over how to best reduce the federal excise tax rate on small alcoholic beverage producers, and it combines aspects of various bills backed by industry groups in all four categories (beer, wine, cider and spirits).

Among the benefits for beer producers would be reducing the federal excise tax to $3.50 per barrel (from $7) on the first 60,000 barrels for domestic brewers who produce fewer than 2 million barrels annually, and to $16 per barrel (from $18) on the first 6 million barrels for all other brewers and beer importers. For barrelage over 6 million, the excise tax would remain $18 per barrel, the BA said.

Along with reducing taxes for brewers and importers, the bill’s passing would simplify label approvals and repeal unnecessary inventory restrictions, the BA said.

The Act was originally introduced last Congress, when it was sponsored by the majority of the Senate and House, and endorsed by beer and alcohol industry-related groups, including the National Barley Growers Association, Hop Growers of America, National Association of Manufacturers, Canning Manufacturers Institute, Glass Packaging Institute, National Corn Growers Association, and Wine Grape Growers of America.

Despite the support, however, 40 of the original sponsors are no longer in Congress, and more than 200 early supporters have not yet signed the bill since it was re-introduced.

Current total sponsors (as of February 3, 2017) include 15 representatives in 11 states and 13 senators in 10 states. The current list of co-sponsors can be viewed here.

Brewery owners, employees, or suppliers interested in taking action regarding H.R. 747/S. 236 may contact their member of Congress by filling out this form