Brewbound Podcast Episode 45: Jim McGreevy on Tax Reform and Tariffs

If you ask Beer Institute CEO Jim McGreevy to describe his organization, you’ll get a pretty succinct answer.

“We only do federal policy, but we do it very well,” he told Brewbound Podcast hosts Chris Furnari and Justin Kendall during a recent interview.

The Beer Institute – long seen as a trade association for large beer companies such as Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Heineken USA, and Constellation Brands — has in recent years played a key role in shaping policy that impacts small brewers.

“We’re helping them on some of the most critical things that are happening in their business,” he said, noting the BI’s involvement in crafting and eventually helping pass the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA).

When McGreevy joined the BI five years ago, the industry was divided on the issue of how to reform federal excise taxes. Small brewers didn’t think large brewers and importers needed a break, while large brewers worried about violating WTO policies.

“That battle had been raging for about eight years,” McGreevy said.

Under his leadership, the BI and the Brewers Association (BA), which represents the interests of small U.S. brewers, came together on a compromise bill (CBMTRA) that was eventually signed into law in 2017.

CBMTRA was included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and its passage marked the first time since 1990 that the federal excise tax on alcohol had been adjusted.

However, the lower rates are set to sunset at the end of 2019, and now both trade groups are fighting to make the tax cuts permanent.

In episode 45 of the Brewbound Podcast, McGreevy discusses his group’s effort to extend tax cuts for all brewers and importers. He also discusses the importance of fighting aluminum and steel tariffs, explains what it’s like to work in Washington, D.C., as a lobbyist in the Trump era, and provides an update on an industry-wide advertising initiative aimed at improving the health of the beer category.

Listen to episode 45 of the Brewbound Podcast above, as well as on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, and Soundcloud. New episodes of the Brewbound Podcast, which is co-hosted by Chris Furnari and Justin Kendall, are published every Thursday.

Episode 46 will be released on Thursday, July 25.

For questions, comments or suggestions, please email

Show Notes:

0:00 – 16:40: Chris Furnari and Justin Kendall introduce episode 45, discuss the constant barrage of hard seltzer content hitting the internet, and read the latest headlines.

16:40 – 41:25: Furnari and Kendall interview Beer Institute CEO Jim McGreevy.

41:25 – 1:01:10: Furnari and Kendall share takeaways from the interview, and select their four-pack of summer activities to do with a beer.

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