Federal Affairs

USPS Shipping Equity Act

In the 117th Congress, Representatives Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced the United States Postal Service (USPS) Shipping Equity Act, bipartisan legislation that would give the USPS the same ability as private carriers to ship alcohol in states where it is legal to do so. The legislation garnered bipartisan support, but unfortunately could not find a legislative vehicle. The Brewers Association (BA) will be working with the legislative champions and supporters of the bill to reintroduce in the 118th congress.

In addition to giving breweries (and wineries and distilleries) another avenue to ship their product, the legislation:

  • Would not make any changes to federal excise tax collection, nor inhibit state and local authorities to regulate beverage alcohol.
  • Would not impact the strong safeguards to prevent underage consumption of alcohol by minors.
  • Is estimated to provide the postal service with $180 million in additional revenue per year.

Currently, 13 states and Washington, D.C. allow breweries to ship beverage alcohol products using private carriers. The USPS Shipping Equity Act supports consumer choice and offers producers—many of whom are in rural or remote areas—the opportunity to reach their adult customers that may otherwise be unable to purchase the product locally or travel to acquire it. direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipping serves as an important complement to the traditional three-tier system of beverage alcohol distribution. Allowing the USPS to compete in this market would be beneficial to breweries and consumers by supporting consumer choice.

A consumer survey by SOVOS Ship Compliant and Harris Poll found that 84% of regular craft beer drinkers—defined as those who drink craft beer at least once per month—want to be able to legally purchase beer via DtC shipping to their homes. Additionally, the survey found that more than 73% say the pandemic has increased their interest in purchasing craft beer via DtC shipping.

To meet that demand, we have seen state laws expanding to allow shipping and delivery of alcohol products, as well as allowing alcohol “to-go” at restaurant and bars. The USPS Shipping Equity Act would help small and independent breweries, wineries, and distilleries meet that demand by allowing the postal service to provide another method of getting their product to market. In addition to the BA, the legislation also has the support of the American Craft Spirits Association, American Mead Makers Association, American Postal Workers Union, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, National Association of Postal Supervisors, National Postal Mail Handlers Union, National Rural Letter Carriers Association, United Postmasters and Managers of America, and WineAmerica.

Learn more about the USPS Shipping Equity Act and Direct to Consumer Shipping

Interstate Direct to Consumer Shipping Laws

Letter of Support

Credit Card Competition Act

In June of 2023, The Credit Card Competition Act of 2023 (CCCA), bipartisan, bicameral legislation lead by Senators Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Representatives Lance Gooden (R-Texas-5) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.-18) was re-introduced. The CCCA would require the largest credit card issuing financial institutions in the country, those with assets over $100 billion, to enable at least two unaffiliated credit card networks to be used to process credit card transactions.

A swipe fee (also known as an interchange fee) is charged to businesses when consumers use a debit or credit card. In 2010, the Durbin amendment was included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, giving the federal reserve the ability to cap the interchange fees charged to merchants when a customer used a debit card. The enactment of this legislation resulted in different fees for processing credit card and debit card transactions.

  • Credit card swipe fees average anywhere from 2%-4%.
  • Debit card swipe fees are capped by the Federal Reserve at 21 cents per transaction plus 0.05% of the transaction amount (cards issued by small banks and credit unions with less than $10 billion in assets are exempt from this cap).
  • Different types of transactions may have different swipe fees. The fees can vary according to the type of card, size of the merchant, or how the card is accepted (online, in person, QR code, etc.).
  • When processing debit card transactions, merchants can choose between at least two unaffiliated networks.

Small businesses and consumers tend to be most impacted by an increase in swipe fees. Credit card processing fees have more than doubled over the past decade. The rates charged to U.S. merchants are among the highest in the world, seven times the maximum allowed in Europe. In 2022, card processing fees totaled $160.7 billion, according to the Nilson Report. That was up 16.7% over the year before and up 142% over the previous decade.

The CCCA is not the only action being taken on swipe fees. In October 2023 the U.S. Federal Reserve proposed reducing the current cap from 21 cents per transaction to 14.4 cents per transaction. The percentage of transactions would also be reduced from 0.05% to 0.04%. Comments on that proposed rulemaking will close February 12, after which a final rule will be issued. Swipe fees are a substantial expense for small and independent breweries as well as restaurants and retailers. Breweries, especially taprooms and brewpubs, have seen a major increase in credit card and debit card usage at their establishments. The industry is willing to pay for the convenience but supports the CCCA and proposed ruling as common sense policy that will help the more than 9,500 small breweries located across the country. The BA will continue to advocate for the passage of the CCCA. View a letter to Hill in Support of CCCA below.

Creating Hospitality Economic Enhancement for Restaurants and Servers (CHEERS) Act

In March 2024, Representatives Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Steve Horsford (D-NV) introduced the Creating Hospitality Economic Enhancement for Restaurants and Servers (CHEERS) Act. This legislation aims to assist hospitality businesses by extending accelerated tax benefits to include qualifying investments in energy-efficient keg and tap systems investments, supporting the use of draft lines and keg equipment in restaurants and bars. 

Section 179 of the U.S. tax code is an immediate exemption that business owners can take on purchases of depreciable business equipment. Taking the depreciation in the year it occurs allows a business owner lower their tax liability in the current tax year instead of capitalizing it and depreciating it over time. The current tax code provides the Section 179D deduction for qualifying investments in energy-efficient systems on commercial premises. 

The CHEERS Act impacts Section 179 as it relates to energy-efficient draught beer properties (identified as so under the existing tax code) primarily used in operating a restaurant or a bar. Hospitality businesses that undertake a remodel, refresh, repair, maintenance, or similar activities with respect to qualified energy-efficient draught property would be able to qualify for the deduction.  

The legislation also addresses tax implications of lost or stolen kegs. Property that is lost or destroyed, whether by theft or otherwise, shall be treated as placed in service during the taxable year when the loss or destruction occurs.

The legislation is supported by the Brewers Association, Beer Institute, National Beer Wholesalers Association, National Restaurant Association, Independent Restaurant Coalition, American Beverage Licensees,  the Steel Keg Association and other hospitality groups and companies. 

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Brewers Association Senior Director of Federal Affairs Katie Marisic provides an update on federal legislation relevant to craft brewers in this April recap.Read More

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Congressional Caucuses

The House and Senate Small Brewers Caucuses provide a forum for members of Congress and their staffs to discuss the issues important to small brewers while exploring what lawmakers can do to strengthen the growth and role of these small businesses in local economies across the country.

House Small Brewers Caucus Members

179 Members in 41 States, the District of Columbia*, and Puerto Rico* represented as of June 7, 2024.

If your state is not represented in the House Small Brewers Caucus, learn how to recruit your representative to join.

Rollover the map to view House Small Brewers Caucus members or download a PDF of the full list.


*DC-At Large Eleanor Holmes Norton (D)

*PR-At Large Jennifer Gonzalez Colon (R)


About the House Small Brewers Caucus

The House Small Brewers Caucus in the United States House of Representatives provides the small brewing community in America an extremely important forum in Washington, D.C.

The Caucus was formed in 2007 by interested members of Congress to gain a better understanding of all aspects of small brewing, from business and regulatory issues to the brewing process and history of the small brewing community. The purpose of the House Small Brewers Caucus is to provide elected officials and their staffs an interactive opportunity to learn about the dynamics of running a small business as a brewery and the quality, process, and value of craft beers and small brewing activities.

While small breweries share many of the same priorities and concerns that other small businesses have, brewing is a highly regulated business and has unique issues that most Americans are not aware of. The Small Brewers Caucus intends to provide information about the science and art of beer and brewing as well as relevant business, regulatory, and societal issues.

House Small Brewers Caucus Co-Chairs

Mike Kelly

(R-Pennsylvania)

Co-Chair

Patrick McHenry

(R-North Carolina)

Co-Chair

Marilyn Strickland

(D-Washington)

Co-Chair

Nikema Williams

(D-Georgia)

Co-Chair


Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus Members

34 members in 24 states represented as of January 3, 2023.

If your state or district is not represented in the Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus, learn how to recruit your representative to join.

Rollover the map to view Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus members or download a PDF of the list.


About the Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus

The Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus was founded by former Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) in June, 2011 and is now chaired by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Mirroring the House Small Brewers Caucus (formed in 2007), the Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus provides a forum for members of the Senate and their staffs to discuss the issues important to small brewers while exploring what lawmakers can do to strengthen the growth and role of these small businesses in local economies across the country.

The caucus also provides opportunities for Senators and staff to learn about the science and art of brewing beer, and the unique cultural and economic contributions made by small brewers to their communities.

Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus Founding Representatives

Ron Wyden

(D-Oregon)

Co-Chair

Lisa Murkowski

(R-Alaska)

Co-Chair

Check back this fall for 2025 dates.

The Brewers Association hosts its annual Hill Climb for Brewers Association members in Washington, D.C. Read the 2024 recap.

Participating in a hill climb is one of the most important things a brewery owner can do to help their business be successful. Members who participate in the hill climb get the opportunity to build relationships with members of Congress and advocate on behalf of the 9,000+ breweries that make up the craft brewing industry.

Small and independent breweries need a strong and unified voice in Washington, D.C. Will you join the Brewers Association and help ensure that our industry is heard?

Building a relationship with your elected officials is one of the most important “government relations” functions you can perform as a member of the craft brewing community.

Get in Touch with Government Affairs Leaders

Send Us an Email

Bob Pease

President and CEO, Brewers Association

Katie Marisic

Senior Director of Federal Affairs, Brewers Association

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