Beer has been a dynamic industry in America for centuries. Today, there are more than 4,000 breweries in the country, the highest total since the 1870s. The beer industry creates jobs, supports other businesses and pours billions of dollars into the economy.
But an outdated tax code is placing an undue burden on this industry and could become a barrier to growth.
Although various pieces of legislation aimed at recalibrating the federal excise tax on beer have been introduced in Congress over the years, none have captured the spirit of the whole brewing industry like the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. This bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Ron WydenRon WydenLawmakers join women's marches in DC and nationwide Senate confirms first nominees of Trump era Senate gears up for battle over Trump's CIA pick MORE (D-Ore.) and Roy BluntRoy BluntThe new Washington elite schmoozes over lunch The Hill's 12:30 Report Trump told of unsubstantiated Russian effort to compromise him MORE (R-Mo.), and Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Ron KindRon KindRyan reelected Speaker in near-unanimous vote Ryan reelected Speaker in near-unanimous GOP vote Junior Dems plot strategy as leadership vote looms MORE (D-Wis.), creates a fair, equitable and comprehensive tax structure for brewers and beer importers, while modernizing antiquated regulations.
For the past 25 years, the excise tax on beer hasn’t changed becoming a burden on beer itself. Research shows that the tax burden borne by beer drinkers is more than 68 percent higher than for the average purchase made in the U.S.
If passed, the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act would recalibrate the federal excise tax to provide relief to small and large brewers as well as importers. These new excise tax rates recognize the changes in the brewing industry that have occurred over the last several decades. There are brewers in every single state and corner of this country and this critical and comprehensive legislation positively affects them all.
While overall manufacturing employment in the U.S. declined from 2007-2013, brewing has been a bright spot. Overall the beer industry contributes nearly $253 billion in economic output - equal to about 1.5 percent of the U.S Gross Domestic Product. Beer is an employment intensive industry, with jobs in brewing growing more than 23 percent from 2007-2013 according to Economic Census data. More than 1.75 million Americans to work in the brewing industry, with small brewers employing over 115,000 full- and part-time employees. Additionally, one out of four small brewers is running at greater than 80 percent of their capacity
The roughly $130 million saved through this recalibration of the tax code allows breweries across the country the possibility to create additional job opportunities and gives them the means they need to expand to meet the growing demands for their products.
In addition to the tax recalibration benefits, this legislation eases a number of burdens for brewers, including simplifying label approvals and repealing unnecessary inventory restrictions.
The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act is commonsense bipartisan legislation that enables members of Congress to support brewpubs, microbrewers, large and small brewers and beer importers, who together form a growing U.S. industry that is important to and impactful on our national economy. We thank those in Congress who have already banned together behind this bill and urge their colleagues to support this forward-looking approach that will help the entire beer industry remain competitive, create good-paying jobs and benefit American consumers.
Pease is CEO of the Brewers Association. McGreevy is CEO of the Beer Institute.