Last week brewery owners, employees and guild leaders came to Washington, D.C. for the second time in 2017 to lobby in support of small and independent brewers and the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA).
Their additional advocacy efforts paid off. The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 747) added it’s 217th cosponsor and is now supported by the majority of the U.S. House of Representatives. The comprehensive, bipartisan bill, which is widely supported by the brewing industry, seeks to reform burdensome laws regulating America’s brewers and beer importers, wineries and distilled spirits producers and recalibrate the current federal excise tax structure, fostering economic development and innovation in the industry.
Rep. David Rouzer, who represents the 7th Congressional district in North Carolina, became the 218th member of the House of Representatives to officially endorse the bipartisan legislation.
The American beer industry supports 1.75 million jobs, which contribute nearly $79 billion in wages and benefits each year to American families and generate $253 billion for the U.S. economy. The beer portion of the legislation is predicted to create an additional 9,000 American jobs in the first 12 to 18 months after it is enacted.
The Brewers Association is working with a broad collaboration of alcohol producers, agriproducers and manufacturing associations to pass the bill, which was introduced in the House by Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Ron Kind (D-WI). The legislation has the support of the Brewers Association, Beer Institute, Wine America, Wine Institute, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, American Craft Spirits Association, Hop Growers of America, National Barley Growers Association, National Barley Improvement Committee, Wine Grape Growers of America, Can Manufacturers Institute and Glass Packaging Institute.
Specific provisions of the bill include:
- Reducing the federal excise tax to $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels for domestic brewers producing fewer than 2 million barrels annually.
- Reducing the federal excise tax to $16 per barrel on the first 6 million barrels for all other brewers and all beer importers.
- Keeping the excise tax at the current $18 per barrel rate for over 6 million barrels.
- Expanding the list of ingredients that could be automatically included in beer without federal government approval.
- Allowing small, unaffiliated brewers to greater collaborate on new beers by giving them the flexibility to transfer beer between breweries without tax liability.
A complete list of Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act cosponsors can be found here. The Senate companion bill (S. 236), introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), currently has 44 cosponsors.