Kerry, Crapo Introduce the BEER Act

Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced legislation this week “to reduce the beer excise tax for America’s small brewers,” according to a press release. It’s called the Brewer’s Employment and Excise Relief (BEER) Act.

Specifics, according to the release:

  • Currently, a small brewer that produces less than two million barrels of beer per year is eligible to pay $7.00 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels produced each year.  This legislation will reduce this rate to $3.50 per barrel, giving our nation’s smallest brewers approximately $19.9. million per year to expand and generate jobs.  This change helps approximately 1,525 breweries nationwide.
  • Currently, once production exceeds 60,000 barrels, a small brewer must pay the same $18 per barrel excise tax rate that the largest brewer pays while producing more than 100 million barrels.  This legislation will lower the tax rate to $16 per barrel on beer production above 60,000 barrels, up to two million barrels, providing small brewers with an additional $27.1 million per year that can be used to support significant long-term investments and create jobs by growing their businesses on a regional or national scale.
  • The small brewer tax rate was established in 1976 and has never been updated.  This legislation would update the ceiling defining small breweries by increasing it from two million barrels to six million barrels.  Raising the ceiling to six million barrels more accurately reflects the intent of the original differentiation between large and small brewers in the U.S.

The Wall Street Journal calls this the “Sam Adams bill.” Kerry’s office disputes that notion.

“This isn’t a Sam Adams-only bill,” Mr. Kerry’s spokeswoman wrote in an email. “Sam Adams is the only Massachusetts brewery close to reaching the 2 million threshold, but all the others support this increase, as many plan on reaching that threshold in the future.”

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