We like the cut of Virginia Senator Bill Stanley’s jib. He serves the great people of Southside and Southwest Virginia in the 20th Senatorial District, but he also serves all of the commonwealth and its beer and agricultural community. Stanley has once again introduced bill SB798, which provides an income tax subtraction, for purposes of computing Virginia adjusted gross income, for the income attributable to the sale of crops grown by a farmer to a brewery licensed in Virginia. So basically, Virginia farmers will get a tax break for selling local beer ingredients.
Reminds me of two Craft Credos: Craft Credo No. 1: Serve and support your community first and Craft Credo No. 6: Localize your supply chain.
There are well over 125 craft breweries in Virginia (last we counted; that’s not an exact number). Plus, West Coast craft giants like Stone Brewing Co., Deschutes Brewing Co. and Green Flash Brewing Co. are setting up shop in places like Roanoke and Virginia Beach. All of those breweries will need massive amounts of hops, malt, fruit, veggies, grains and other exotic ingredients to brew beer. Why shouldn’t local farmers try their hands at growing and supplying those commodities?
From an article on the always-readable Martinsville Bulletin:
“What all of us have seen is an explosion of this industry of the likes that we did not anticipate,” Stanley said. “And if we’re going to have this industry to continue to grow we need to have other things that will support it and agriculture is the natural progression in that direction.”
As Virginia’s brewery industry booms, the hops industry is slow to catch up. Most hop-growing operations amount to less than 1 acre, according to a 2014 survey by the Virginia Cooperative Extension.
The Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association supports the bill because there aren’t enough local beer-making crops being grown in the commonwealth, said Philip Boykin, the association’s president and CEO. “Anything that helps increase commodities, barley, wheat and hops, anything that increases these commodities, we support,” he said.
Us too. Cheers Senator Stanley, and cheers to co-patron Sen. Monty Mason (D-Williamsburg) too.