The Brewers Association and the Beer Institute issued a joint statement this afternoon in support of a new bill that would restructure the federal excise tax rate on beer, creating a unified front to take on an issue that has for years divided the beer industry’s two leading advocacy groups.
The bipartisan Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act – filed by Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Ron Kind (D-WI) – is actually a companion bill of the same name filed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) in the Senate earlier this month.
At the time of the first bill’s introduction, both the BA and the BI separately vocalized their support of the proposed legislation. This is the first time the two individual organizations — which over the past four years advocated for competing excise tax reform bills — have come together with a unified voice for a single bill.
As proposed, the new bill (H.R. 2903) calls for the federal excise tax rate on a brewer’s first 60,000 barrels to be cut in half, from $7 per barrel down to $3.50. Those annual rates would extend to all breweries that produce less than 2 million barrels per year. The bill would also allow for domestic breweries that produce more than 2 million barrels to pay a reduced $16 per barrel rate, down from $18, on its first 6 million barrels. Lastly, importers would pay $16 on their first 6 million barrels and $18 for every barrel thereafter.
The “Craft” Act borrows from both the Small BREW Act and the Fair BEER Act, two rival pieces of legislation historically backed separately by the BA and BI.
In today’s joint statement, both Bob Pease, BA CEO and Jim McGreevy, BI president and CEO, shared their thoughts on the new bill.
“This legislation is a big win for the brewing industry, bringing us together over the common goal of recalibrating federal excise tax. The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act will greatly benefit America’s small brewers and allow them to achieve their job creation and brewing capacity reinvestment objectives,” Pease said in the statement.”“We thank Representatives Paulsen and Kind for their leadership in introducing this legislation and working so diligently to support America’s brewing industry.”
“We thank Representatives Paulsen and Kind, and all cosponsors, for their longtime support of the beer industry. Congressman Womack has been especially instrumental in moving the idea of comprehensive beer tax reform forward,” McGreevy added. “Introduction of this legislation, meant to be a companion to Senator Wyden’s, is yet another critical step forward in addressing beer excise tax reform in way that benefits everyone,”
Both leaders also expressed their pleasure to be working together to advance the bill.
“We look forward to working with our colleagues at the Beer Institute and other industry stakeholders, as well as members of Congress, to get this comprehensive, bipartisan legislation passed,” said Pease.
“It’s a great day when the entire brewing industry can support a solution to address an issue that has plagued us for too long. I’m excited to work jointly with the Brewers Association to reform the regressive federal excise tax on beer,” McGreevy added.
Update (6/25/15): NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser issued a statement regarding the introduction of the Craft Beverage Modernization Act.
“NBWA commends the efforts of Reps. Paulsen and Kind who understand that proposals to reform beer excise taxes should reflect current industry structure and apply to all brewers and importers. The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 2903) reflects the intent of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (S. 1562), introduced earlier this month by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (OR) who also recognized the importance of seeking consensus when it comes to tax policy. Both the House and the Senate proposals are steps in the right direction. Additionally, NBWA especially appreciates the ongoing leadership of Reps. Steve Womack (AR) and Kind for their efforts to advance excise tax legislation that would provide relief for all brewers.”