It’s the tax bill everyone seems to like — craft brewers represented by the Brewers Association, Big Beer interests represented by the Beer Institute and even Congress (and they don’t like anything). In fact, the comprehensive reform bill known as the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 2903), aimed at fostering economic development and job growth in the brewing industry overall, reached a major milestone recently when it added its 100th co-sponsor since its introduction this summer.
Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) was officially the 100th lawmaker to add her name to H.R. 2903 on Oct. 7, just after Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) became the 99th co-sponsor. Reps. John Conyers (D-MI), Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Sam Johnson (R-TX), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Dennis Ross (R-FL) have added their names to the effort since the milestone was met, and leaders from the beer industry say their recruitment effort is just getting started.
“Right now, tax is the most expensive ingredient in beer,” explained Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute, which says its represents brewers, beer importers and supply industries. “This common-sense legislation is about fostering economic expansion as it benefits brewers and importers – big and small, upstart and established.”
If enacted, McGreevy said the legislation could create an additional $320 million in economic growth in an industry that today supports more than 1.75 million U.S. jobs and generates nearly $253 billion in economic activity.
“The outdated tax code is placing an undue burden on craft brewers and it is acting as a barrier to continued growth for brewers of all sizes,” said Bob Pease, CEO of the Brewers Association, a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers. “On behalf of the thousands of small and independent craft breweries doing business and creating jobs all over the country, we thank everyone in Congress who is supporting this important bill.”
The Beer Institute and Brewers Association are working closely together to pass the bipartisan legislation, which was introduced in the House by Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Ron Kind (D-WI) and has also won endorsements from the Can Manufacturers Institute and the National Barley Growers Association.
Provisions of the bill include:
- Reduces the federal excise tax to $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels (bbls) for domestic brewers producing fewer than 2 million bbls annually.
- Reduces the federal excise tax to $16 per bbl on the first 6 million bbls for all other brewers and all beer importers.
- Keeps the excise tax at the current $18 per bbl rate for barrelage over 6 million.
Its companion bill in the Senate (S. 1562) introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), already has 22 co-sponsors including Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Tom Carper (D-DE) who joined the bill last week.