Board Approves Climate and Difference Between Beer and Liquor Position Statements

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The Brewers Association (BA) Board of Directors approved two new position statements in June 2021.

The Climate statement was developed in a working group that included members of the Supply Chain and Sustainability Subcommittees, the Government Affairs Committee, the board, and BA staff.

The Difference Between Beer and Liquor Statement was developed by BA General Counsel Marc Sorini and reviewed by the Government Affairs Committee before going to the full board. The growing efforts by the liquor industry to receive the same tax rate as brewers in the states, and have beneficial rulings in terms of market access and distribution access for ready-to-drink canned cocktails threatens the competitiveness of beer against liquor.

These statements are used to help inform brewery and associate members of the importance of these issues and can be used to show legislators and regulators that the industry is concerned about securing the future for small brewers.

The new position statements are listed below. View all BA position statements.

Climate

Climate change poses current and long-term environmental, social, and economic risks to craft brewers, our supply chains, and our communities. The BA provides resources to facilitate member initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to support science-based policies and actions aimed at averting irreversible global temperature change and moving towards a low-carbon economy.

The Difference Between Beer and Liquor

The recognition that beer and liquor are fundamentally different beverages, necessitating distinct regulatory treatment, is a core tenet of alcohol regulation in the United States. Reflecting beer’s status as the beverage of moderation and its contributions to the economy, it has historically and correctly been subject to lower excise tax rates and less stringent distribution restrictions than liquor.

While recognizing that changes in society or technology sometimes merit changes in the law, nothing has altered the important differences between beer and liquor. Liquor companies have thrived in the current tax and regulatory environment, so the BA sees no need to change long-standing and successful policies merely to enhance the profitability of those companies. We accordingly support distinct beer and liquor excise tax rates and oppose efforts to treat liquor as if it were beer.