Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 29, 2015

Craft Beer’s Overtaxed, Senators Say

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Eighteen senators want to encourage drinking craft beer. They’re touting new legislation to slash the excise tax on beer produced by smaller breweries.

The bipartisan group, led by Maryland Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin and Maine Republican Susan Collins, wants to cut the excise tax in half, to $3.50 a barrel, on the first 60,000 barrels of beer. Other taxes would also be reduced.

“Maine is home to dozens of unique craft breweries and brewpubs that invigorate our economy by providing more than 1,000 jobs and drawing countless tourists into our state,” Collins said in a statement.

Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles E. Schumer is among those backing the effort. He has no shortage of breweries in New York. In a statement, he alluded to some communities in parts of the state that have faced prolonged losses of manufacturing jobs.

“Small breweries throughout Upstate New York not only brew great beer, they also pour jobs into communities across the country,” Schumer said, deploying a pun.

“Craft breweries are the crown jewels of so many of our communities, and often set up shop in vacant buildings and warehouses and revitalize downtowns across the country. By cutting taxes for these small breweries, we can help put more money back into their businesses and brew further economic development and growth,” he added.

The push to reduce this small brewer tax rate comes ahead of American Craft Beer Week, which kicks off on Monday. It is just one of a slew of narrowly targeted tax provisions that could come under scrutiny as part of a bid to overhaul and simplify the federal tax code. Cardin, Schumer and several other co-sponsors sit on the tax-writing Finance Committee.

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