Senators say: Boost the craft beer industry

beer1Connecticut’s two U.S. senators have introduced a bill designed to boost the American craft beer industry through lower taxes.

The Small BREW Act of 2015 would reduce the federal excise tax on every one of America’s small craft brewers. Among the bill’s main sponsors are U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, both Democrats from Connecticut.

“By reducing the burden of the excise tax, Connecticut’s small breweries — like Two Roads in Stratford, and Thomas Hooker in Bloomfield — will be able to spend potentially millions more on developing their own small businesses, and strengthening our economy,” Blumenthal and Murphy said in a joint statement.

Under current federal law, brewers producing fewer than 2 million barrels annually pay $7 per barrel in federal excise taxes on the first 60,000 barrels they brew, and $18 per barrel on every additional barrel (one barrel equals 31 gallons).

The Small BREW Act would lower that to $3.50 and $16 per barrel, for under 2 million barrels. Breweries with annual production of 6 million or fewer barrels would qualify for the new tax rates.

The small brewer threshold and tax rate were established in 1976, and have never been updated.

Blumenthal and Murphy said small breweries are drivers of economic growth. “They have generated thousands of jobs in the state and across the country, and are boosting local economies,” the senators said.

There are now more than 3,200 small and independent breweries in the United States, with from one to two more opening every day, according to the Brewers Association.

Even though these small breweries represent about 12% of the U.S. beer industry in volume terms, they now represent the majority of jobs in beer. In 2013, craft breweries directly employed 110,273 people.

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