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Single Excise Tax Bill Emerges for Craft, Macro

Brewers Insitute, Brewers Association Support New Bill

After years of competing proposals supported by the Beer Institute and the Brewers Association for reducing the federal excise tax on beer, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) has proposed comprehensive reform. The legislation to be introduced will be called the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, S.1562.

The proposal has been endorsed by both brewer organizations, which account for virtually all beer commercially produced in the U.S. The legislation aims to reduce the excise tax to $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels for domestic brewers producing fewer than two million barrels annually, which is one of the goals of the BA’s legislation. It would drop the tax to $16 on the first 6 million barrels for all other brewers and beer importers, the key goal for the BI. The proposal sustains the current $18 barrel rate for production over 6 million barrels.

“We applaud Senator Wyden for this positive step forward in addressing beer excise tax reform in a fair, equitable and comprehensive way,” said Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the BI. “The beer-specific provisions of this bill move the ball forward for brewers of all sizes. We know that when all facets of the industry agree, we are stronger together.” The BI has been supporting its own Fair BEER Act.

The BA released the following statement, in part. “As co-chair of the Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus, Senator Wyden has been a longtime champion for America’s craft brewers, and we appreciate his strong support. He has been diligently working to reduce federal excise taxes for craft brewers through his co-sponsorship of the Small BREW Act. Now with the introduction of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, Senator Wyden has gone even further to ensure growth for small and independent brewers.

“Not only would this legislation recalibrate excise taxes—an issue for which we have long advocated—it would ease a number of burdens for brewers, including simplifying label approvals and repealing unnecessary inventory restrictions. This comprehensive legislation, if enacted, will achieve the job creation and brewing capacity reinvestment goals of the Small BREW Act.” The BA indicated it will continue to support its Small BREW Act as well as the legislation of Senator Wyden.