Craft Brewers Take Their Seat at the Table

As Brewers Association President & CEO Bob Pease said in his opening remarks at the 2017 Craft Brewers Conference, “In this town, if you aren’t at the table, you’re on the menu.”

In the past decade, amidst major growth in craft brewing, the Brewers Association has worked tirelessly to increase our influence at the state and federal levels while adapting to changing member and consumer demands. We are being asked to testify in front of Congress, guilds are introducing and passing legislation, and brewery owners and operators are running for office.

Small brewers have a big voice. And it’s time D.C. pays attention.

Here are the facts:

  • 13,000+ people from the U.S. and abroad attended the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C. The last time the Craft Brewers Conference was in D.C. in 2013, 6,500 established and aspiring brewers came to learn about the industry. In four years (an election cycle), we’ve doubled the number of attendees.
  • All 50 states + D.C. were represented at the April and June Hill Climbs. Brewery owners and employees came from Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, South Dakota, and every other state in the country to advocate on behalf of independent craft brewers. Attendees from both hill climbs went to more than 470 meetings total. Since the April Hill Climb, 62 representatives and 12 senators have been added as cosponsors of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA).
  • The CBMTRA has 210 cosponsors in the House (H.R. 747) and 44 cosponsors in the Senate (S.236) As of June 5, 2017. This legislation was introduced on January 30, 2017. In  four months, it has earned the support of almost half of the United State Congress.
  • 5,300+ breweries are located in the U.S., with 2.6 new breweries opening every day. There are only 8 Congressional Districts in the country without a brewer and at the rate they are opening, they will have one by the 2018 midterm elections.
  • 130,000+ Americans are employed by the craft brewing community. Small and independent brewers have a direct influence on manufacturing jobs, but did you know they also impact agriculture, retail, and other manufacturing industries? For every new job created in the brewing industry, another job is added to America’s agricultural industry.
  • It is legal to sell beer from a taproom in every state in the country. Thanks to laws passed this year in Georgia and Mississippi, it is now legal to enjoy a beer at a brewery from Alaska to Florida. Taprooms are quickly becoming an effective way for brewers to promote and market their beers and earn additional revenue. Expect to see more breweries open thanks to these laws.

(MORE: Ask Congress to Support Your Brewery)

So take note, Washington, D.C. To paraphrase Pease, “We aren’t just at the table, we are setting the agenda.”

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.

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