Senator Mark Warner recently stopped by Heritage Brewing Co. in Manassas, Virginia to meet with CEO and co-founder Sean Arroyo. The Virginia small brewer has developed a strong relationship with their local government and therefore welcomed the opportunity to make a connection with a Senator at the national level.
As the craft brewing industry grows across the U.S., more local manufacturing jobs are being created. During the meeting the group discussed ways to help veterans transition to the workforce. Heritage Brewing Co. currently has a policy to give “veterans preference” to all applicants. The company, which is veteran owned and operated, hopes to help businesses understand how valuable military training can be to an employer.
In addition to creating jobs, Arroyo conveyed other ways that breweries are making an impact on their communities. Heritage Brewing Co. focuses on local ingredients—every beer is brewed with 100 percent American ingredients. They also donate one percent of every pint to local charities.
Also discussed were ways the Members of Congress can help support these growing businesses including tax breaks for small brewers. As co-sponsor of the small brewer bill S 917, Senator Warner has taken steps to help small brewers in Virginia. This bill, the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (Small BREW Act), would recalibrate the Federal excise tax for small brewers. The bill has bi-partisan support in a normally polarized Congress. Currently, a small brewer that produces less than 2 million barrels of beer per year is eligible to pay $7.00 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels produced each year. The proposed legislation would adjust this rate to $3.50 per barrel and would provide eligible breweries with approximately $28 million in savings per year (based on 2012 data).
Heritage Brewing Co. hopes to continue conversations with their elected officials in order to find ways to better the craft brewing industry as a whole and help the state of Virginia become more brewer-friendly.