Today, 57 senators sent a letter to Senate leadership asking them to pass the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA, S.362/H.R. 1175), bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by three-fourths of the United States Congress.
The letter was spearheaded by Senate Finance Committee ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the lead sponsor of the bill, and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), both of whom have been leaders in supporting the recalibrated excise tax rates and the important role that craft beverage producers play to the United States economy.
“In addition to creating jobs in every state and Congressional district, beverage alcohol producers are critical partners to our farmers and agriculture producers, the tourism industry, the manufacturing sector, and the hospitality industry, including restaurants, bars, and other on-premise establishments,” Sen. Wyden and Sen. Portman wrote. “Together, these producers support over 5.4 million jobs across the country and contribute immensely to the vibrancy of our economy and communities.”
The letter acknowledged the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on producers across the country, and implored Congress to not let the existing rates expire, which would result in many small breweries seeing their excise tax rates increase by up to 100%.
The Brewers Association and state brewers’ guilds played an active role in getting signatures for the letter by reaching out to their senators and sharing stories about how the industry would be impacted if the current rates expire. U.S. breweries have benefited greatly from the recalibrated federal excise tax rates, using the money that they saved to reinvest in their breweries and hire new employees. In two years (2018-2019) the brewing industry created 25,000 new jobs.
Unless Congress acts, the current federal excise tax rates will expire on Dec. 31, 2020. The Brewers Association is advocating for passage of CBMTRA to ensure the rates are made permanent, as well as for additional pandemic relief for breweries and the hospitality industry.