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A beer bill fit for all

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But an outdated tax code is placing an undue burden on this industry and could become a barrier to growth. 

{mosads}The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act gives brewers the needed capital infusion to invest in their companies and boost production in order to meet consumer demand and invest in product innovation giving consumers more choice when ordering their favorite alcohol beverage.

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 Wyden (D-Ore.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Ron Kind (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.

Tags Ron Kind Ron Wyden Roy Blunt

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