The first federal Capitol Hill climb of 2015 in support of small brewer excise tax recalibration was held on March 25, with 33 Brewers Association (BA) brewery members and guild representatives, as well as five BA staff, visiting almost 100 House offices and 45 Senate offices. With 25 states represented, the small brewer reach was both wide and deep.
The evening prior saw most participants gather for dinner at a local brewpub to enjoy an evening of good food, exceptional beer and the company of fellow climbers. Also taking place that evening was a beer and food pairing dinner with members of the press ranging from DCist (a local affiliate of a national website) to the Wall Street Journal. Press heardfrom the founders of five different breweries—Country Boy Brewing, Deschutes Brewery, Freetail Brewing Company, Fremont Brewing and Boston Beer Co. They each discussed how they got involved in craft brewing, the changing industry and how their small businesses would benefit from the passage of the Small BREW Act.
Following a briefing session a complete day of legislative visits commenced. With a good proportion of member-level meetings included, the small brewer message on the Small BREW Act was delivered to key members of the House and Senate. Other issues discussed included Congressional Small Brewer Caucus recruitment, still pending regulation of spent grains, exemptions of bonding requirements for small producers, and personal invitations for members and staff to visit small breweries in their state or district.
Small brewers continue to reinforce our perspective on industry issues of importance with key decision makers in Washington, D.C. Member participation (both continuing and new) is crucial to our success in protecting and promoting small brewer interests in the legislative and regulatory arenas and we eagerly anticipate the next edition of the Brewers Association Capitol Hill Climb!