Craft Beer Politics: Election Results

After a long election season, we finally have an answer regarding the direction our country has chosen to head. And, as I discussed in my previous post, Florida correctly predicted the winner of the presidential race for the sixth straight time.

Election Day included some notable wins in craft beer politics worth celebrating. These results are positive steps forward for the small and independent brewing community:

One of our own is elected

Heather Sanborn of Rising Tide Brewing Company in Portland, Maine was elected to represent the people of the 43rd District in the state capitol. In addition to being a co-owner and handling the brewery’s marketing and operations, Sanborn also served as president of the Maine Brewers Guild and is a lawyer and former teacher.

Why it matters

Our industry is growing; there are currently more than 4,800 small and independent breweries across the country. As an association, we have been working hard to expand our political footprint at the state and federal levels through grassroots and political activism. The next logical step is to encourage brewery owners and employees to run for office. Legislators decide on issues that directly impact brewers such as taxes, tasting room sales, depreciation costs, and more. It’s about time craft brewers have one of their own working on the inside. Cheers to Heather! Here’s hoping that more craft brewers will follow in her footsteps.

CBMTRA champions return to D.C.

All of the original sponsors of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 2903/S. 1562) won reelection and are returning for the 115th Congress. Two races in particular were hard fought. Pundits predicted that Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), the lead Republican cosponsors of their respective CBMTRA bills, would face extremely difficult races. Both prevailed on election night. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) also won their elections. Both senators made a point of touting the support of small and independent brewers in their campaigns.

Why it matters

Supporting legislators who support the craft brewing industry is extremely important. Helping to keep legislators in office who actively work to grow your industry is equally important. Your legislative champions are the ones who fight on Capitol Hill for the issues that impact you. The Brewers Association and craft brewers have built relationships with members of Congress who actively support them on issues like spent grain, federal excise taxes, hop production, and more. Reelecting the people who understand that those issues are a priority and have a positive impact on the country and the economy helps all brewers. Having our legislative champions return will hopefully help us move issues like CBMTRA in the right direction.

We still have a lame duck session to get through before the 115th Congress is sworn in and we begin to see the impact of this election. The Brewers Association will be focusing on different ways to work with the federal legislature to best help craft brewers across the country.

Katie Marisic is federal affairs manager at the Brewers Association (BA). Based in Washington, D.C. she plans and executes legislative, regulatory and political strategies to drive the associations federal affairs presence on Capitol Hill. Prior to working for the BA, Katie was vice president of political affairs at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions. She got her start in politics working on congressional campaigns during the ’06 and ’08 elections. A Pennsylvania native, Katie is a long time craft brewing supporter. In 2013 she helped to open Atlas Brew Works in Washington, D.C. When she is not advocating for the craft brewing community on Capitol Hill you can sometimes find her pouring beers at a local tasting room.

See Katie Marisic's recent articles and activities