Politics: The BEER Act

May 20 2013, 4:16 PM

Federal tax breaks for brewers? Why not. Last year, Senator Mark Udall stopped by Avery Brewing Company to tout his idea to reduce taxes on both microbreweries and larger beer producers. At the time, Udall's plan was to chop the excise tax on a barrel of beer (31 gallons), so that breweries would have extra cash to invest in growing their beer businesses. Now, Udall has introduced legislation that would do just that. 

The bill, which is co-sponsored by Senator Michael Bennet and Republicans from Missouri and Louisiana, is called The Brewer's Excise and Economic Relief Act—or, conveniently, the BEER Act. As proposed, the bill would eliminate federal taxes for breweries producing less than 15,000 barrels. (Currently, brewers pay $7 for each barrel of beer they produce up to 15,000.) The next tier would stretch from 15,001 barrels to 60,000 barrels and cost brewers $3.50 a barrel in that range—half of the current $7 price tag. Anything above 60,000 would cost brewers $9 per barrel—half of the current $18 tax. If the Bill passes, Udall says, the result would be that 90 percent of the breweries in Colorado would no longer pay a federal excise on a barrel of beer. 

"We need to help our brewers keep our pint glasses full and our economy strong. The BEER Act would give a shot in the arm to an important and growing industry in our state." Udall said in a statement. "My bipartisan bill would support established brewers, emerging craft brewers, and the many agriculture, manufacturing, and business service sectors that benefit from our strong breweries."

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