On June 7, sixty-eight individuals including Brewers Association staff, BA member small brewers, and state guild leaders climbed Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress. A total of one hundred and sixty-eight meetings were arranged with Senators and Representatives from thirty-three different states. These meetings focused on requests for co-sponsorship of H.R. 1236 / S. 534, the small brewer federal excise tax legislation, recruiting U.S. Representatives and Senators to join the House Small Brewers Caucus and or the Senate Bi-Partisan Small Brewers Caucus and finally, on educating elected officials about craft brewing businesses and American craft beer.
Following the legislator visits, a joint meeting of the House and Senate Caucuses was held, with BA President Charlie Papazian speaking on the topic of religion and beer. BA Board member and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company founder Ken Grossman also spoke to Caucus members and staff about his brewery’s collaboration with a northern California monastery in brewing a special line of beers to benefit the reconstruction of an historic abbey.
To close out the day, members of Congress were invited to a reception hosted by the Brewers Association. A much anticipated event, the Celebration of American Craft Beer, draws Members of Congress and 600 to 700 Congressional staffers from both the House and Senate. The two-hour reception featured artisanal cheeses and chocolates and other specialty foods, all to be explored within the context of the flavor diversity of American craft beer. Twenty-nine BA member small brewers from across the country poured 60+ beers in a wide range of styles.
Educating members of Congress on small brewer issues through personal meetings and events like those of June 7 is one of the most effective ways to promote and protect the craft brewing industry. Many thanks for the efforts of those who attended these events!