Federal Excise Tax Overview

113th Congress (2013-2014)

The Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (Small BREW Act), HR 494 , was introduced in the 113th Congress on February 5, 2013 by Representatives Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Richard E. Neal (D-MA). Joining as original co-sponsors of the bill were Representatives Peter De Fazio (D-OR), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC).

On May 9, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced S. 917 and were joined by 16 of their Senate colleagues who signed on as original co-sponsors.

The Small BREW Act seeks to reduce the small brewer federal excise tax rate on the first 60,000 barrels by 50 percent (from $7.00 to $3.50/barrel) and institute a new rate of $16.00 per barrel on beer production above 60,000 barrels up to 2 million barrels. Breweries with an annual production of 6 million barrels or less would qualify for these tax rates.

Additional Information

  • Recalibrating the beer excise tax rate paid by smaller brewers is the top legislative priority for Brewers Association members.
  • In the fall of 2009, in response to a request by Representative Neal, the Brewers Association participated in the development of the original small brewer graduated excise tax legislation, H.R. 4278.
  • Leslie and Mark Henderson of Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co. in Kiln, Mississippi produced a video which explains how an excise tax reduction would benefit their brewery and employees. The video was played at the December 2009 meeting of the House Small Brewers Caucus. It is essentially a case study of the beneficial impact of the proposed $3.50/barrel small brewer rate, and we encourage members to view the 4+ minute clip and apply the points Leslie makes to your own businesses.

112th Congress (2011-2012)

The Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (Small BREW Act) had also been introduced in the 112th Congress. H.R. 1236 (which gained the support of 174 U.S. Representatives) and S. 534 (which gained the support of 44 U.S. Senators) contained identical tax recalibration provisions as HR 494 in the current Congress.

Senate Bill S. 534 (introduced March 9, 2011)

House of Representatives Bill H.R. 1236 (introduced March 29, 2011)