Congress Passes the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act

Today, the 115th United States Congress passed H.R.1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Included in this legislation is the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA), which lowers the federal excise tax for breweries, wineries and distilled spirits producers.

Under the bill, the federal excise tax on beer will be reduced to $3.50/barrel (from $7/barrel) on the first 60,000 barrels for domestic brewers producing less than 2 million barrels annually, and reduced to $16/barrel (from $18/barrel) on the first 6 million barrels for all other brewers and all beer importers. The bill maintains the current $18/barrel rate for barrelage over 6 million. In total, this represents more than $142 million in annual savings, which will allow America’s small brewers—who are manufacturers and entrepreneurs—to reinvest in their businesses, expand their operations, and hire more workers.

Additionally, CBMTRA increases collaboration between brewers by permitting transfer of beer between bonded facilities without tax liability.

The effort to bring meaningful federal excise tax relief to small brewers has been a primary political objective for the Brewers Association (BA) for almost 10 years. The BA has played a central role within the beverage alcohol coalition, advocating for this historic change in public policy. The BA, as an organization advocating on behalf of small brewers, has a commitment to its members to influence change when and where it can, without taking a position on larger legislation.

This bipartisan legislation is a tremendous step forward for America’s small brewers, located in almost every congressional district in the nation. We would like to thank Congress, especially Sens. Portman (R-OH), Blunt (R-MO), and Wyden (D-OR), and Reps. Paulsen (R-MN) and Kind (D-WI), for their leadership and support of America’s small and independent breweries. Small brewers are the growth engine in this industry, and our expectation is that CBMTRA will spur additional growth in the months and years ahead.

The provisions of this bill are effective January 1, 2018.

More information about CBMTRA can be found at BrewersAssociation.org. Specific information pertaining to the impacts of the full tax bill on your brewery will be forthcoming.

Bob Pease is president & CEO of the Brewers Association, the trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers with more than 4,000 brewery members. In his role, Pease is responsible for the strategic development and tactical execution of the association’s mission in the areas of membership development, events, media relations, and government affairs. He has led the charge to strengthen the small brewer’s voice in Washington, D.C.

See 's recent articles and activities.