Leahy Joins In Introducing Legislation To Help Small Brewers

WASHINGTON (WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4, 2015) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday joined other senators in introducing the bipartisan Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (Small BREW Act).  The legislation, sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), would recalibrate the federal beer excise tax that small brewers pay, cutting the tax nearly in half.  Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is also a cosponsor.

Leahy said:  “Vermont may be a smaller state but we brew big beer.  The craft beer scene is not new to us; Vermont has been one of its earliest and most successful incubators.  Since the 1980s brewers like Greg Noonan from the Vermont Pub and Brewery helped inspire and mentor the generation of brewers who have built and nurtured this thriving industry in Vermont and across the country.  Vermont is home to some of the best beer in the world, and it seems every day a new craft brewery opens or begins the planning process.  These businesses not only make great beer but they attract tourism, support local agriculture and add vitality to our communities.  The Small BREW Act creates opportunity for these small brewers and businesses to continue to grow and support their local economies, and to serve their lengthening lists of fans.”

Currently, brewers making fewer than 2 million barrels annually pay $7 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels they produce, and $18 per barrel on every barrel thereafter.  The Small BREW Act would change that rate to $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels, $16 between 60,001 and 2 million barrels, and brewers that exceeds 2 million barrels, about 1 percent of the U.S. beer market, would begin paying the $18 rate.  Small breweries with an annual production of 6 million barrels or less would qualify for these tax rates, providing these small brewers with an estimated $60 million per year to invest in their communities and their small business. 

In recent years Vermont has solidified its place as a prime destination for microbrews.  Its 40 breweries have a reputation as being some of the best in the world.  Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro was named the number one brewery in the world by RateBeer.Com.  The Alchemist’s Heady Topper received a ranking as the number one beer in the world.  Leahy noted that it is not uncommon for people to drive from New York City, Boston or even Washington, D.C., to visit Vermont’s breweries.  Nationally, small and independent brewers employ more than 108,000 full- and part-time employees, generate more than $3 billion in wages and benefits.

Kurt Staudter, executive director of the Vermont Brewers Association, said:  “Vermont has been at the center of the craft brewing movement since the beginning, and one of our steadfast partners in our meteoric rise to prominence has been Senator Patrick Leahy. Vermonters have always supported locally made products, and unlike other places around the country, the ‘localvore movement’ isn’t just the latest fad here; it is what makes Vermont special.  Senator Leahy’s support of the Small BREW Act is vital in helping Vermont brewers build on this success.”

Bob Pease, CEO of the Brewers Association said:  “The small, Main Street brewers all across America really appreciate Senators Cardin, Collins and Leahy’s long-time support for this important legislation, the Small BREW Act.  Time and again, Senator Leahy has demonstrated that he is a friend of small brewers and small business generally.   The Small BREW Act is more about job creation and economic development than it is beer.  Our industry has created more than 110,000 jobs over the last quarter century, and, as Senator Leahy recognizes, this bill would help small brewers in Vermont and other states create even more jobs if it is enacted.”

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About the Vermont Brewers Association

The Vermont Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to promoting craft brewing in Vermont. Beer lovers are always invited to participate in the Vermont Brewers Fest, an Artisan Craft Beer Festival celebrating Artisan Craft Beer and the Brewers who brew them. The celebration is the third weekend in July at Burlington Waterfront Park. Learn more by visiting their website at: http://www.vermontbrewers.com/

About Brewers Association

The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association (BA) represents more than 70 percent of the brewing industry, and its members make more than 99 percent of the beer brewed in the U.S.

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