US Senate Passes Tax Bill, Approves Tax Breaks for Booze Makers

The United States Senate passed a sweeping tax reform bill early Saturday morning that includes a number of changes to the tax code and benefits alcohol producers.

With a vote of 51-49 today, the Senate passed H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” which is the largest tax overhaul in 31 years and includes the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA).

After the vote, President Donald Trump tweeted:

“We are one step closer to delivering MASSIVE tax cuts for working families across America. Special thanks to @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell and Chairman @SenOrrinHatch for shepherding our bill through the Senate. Look forward to signing a final bill before Christmas!”

The bill will next head to a conference committee, where House and Senate members will reconcile differences in their two bills.

In a press release, Beer Institute president and CEO Jim McGreevy commended the Senate for its “bold vision on tax reform and for including federal excise tax relief for America’s brewers and importers.”

“Federal excise tax reform for beverage alcohol is a comprehensive and critical step forward that benefits all brewers and beer importers – large and small,” McGreevy said in the release.

Brewers Association (BA) CEO Bob Pease, called the passing of the legislation “a game changer for small brewers.”

“This is a large step forward for America’s small brewers, which are located in every Congressional District in the nation,” Pease said in a press release.

As part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, brewers will enjoy tax cuts through the end of 2019. CBMTRA would reduce the federal excise tax from $7 to $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels for domestic brewers producing fewer than 2 million barrels annually. The legislation would also cut the federal excise tax to $16 per barrel on the first 6 million barrels for all other brewers and beer importers while maintaining the $18 per barrel excise tax for brewers producing more than 6 million barrels.

According to the BA, a not-for-profit trade group dedicated to small and independent craft brewers, the legislation could create an additional 9,000 beer industry jobs in the first 12 to 18 months after implementation.

McGreevy said federal excise tax relief could create an additional $320 million in annual economic growth in the beer industry. He also thanked the 300 representatives and 55 Senators for their support of the legislation.

“We thank Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Rob Portman (R-OH) for their leadership, and we look forward to working with Senate and House leadership as well as the members of the conference committee and urge them to include this provision in the final conference report,” he said in the release.

A number of alcoholic beverage lobbying groups have backed the legislation, including the Beer Institute, the Brewers Association, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), American Craft Spirits Association, Wine America and the Wine Institute.

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