U.S. Congressman Rob Andrews (NJ-1) recently visited the new Flying Fish Brewing Co. facility in Somerdale, N.J., taking up the offer to tour the brewery made at a meeting in his Washington office after which he signed on as a co-sponsor of HR 1236, the small brewer excise tax legislation.
To begin the visit, Congressman Andrews met with Andy Newell, Vice President of Sales for Flying Fish, and Kevin Finn, a partner in the Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant group with a location in the Congressman’s district. Representative Andrews was eager to hear more about how the passage of HR 1236 would benefit the two breweries, particularly with respect to job creation and the many economic benefits to the local communities.
It was pointed out that as growth in the small brewing sector continues, the jobs created are not limited to traditional manufacturing jobs, but also include technical, financial, marketing, and sales positions. Additionally, with breweries expanding and brewpubs opening new locations, the job creation isn’t limited to those businesses, but includes jobs in a variety of local construction trades.
Andy and Kevin also gave the Congressman the ‘big picture” about how the American brewing community has become among the most innovative and admired in the world, and that this additional support would go a long way toward aiding the continued growth of small brewers.
Head brewer Casey Hughes then led the Congressman on a tour of the brewery, highlighting the many “green” technology components of the new building and discussing how new and expanding small brewers were committing themselves to sustainability as a long-term response to larger economic and societal issues.
The tour ended with a Q&A session with the Flying Fish employees and an interesting observation by Representative Andrews. In response to a question about the chances of HR 1236 passing this year, the Congressman said he thought that any new job initiatives would be considered very closely since job creation is one of the few areas that can be agreed upon in what is otherwise an extremely polarized Congress.