Craft Beverage Modernization Bill Adds 218th House Co-Sponsor

The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) now has a majority of support in the U.S. House of Representatives, with the addition of North Carolina Rep. David Rouzer as the legislation’s 218th co-sponsor.

“I want to thank Rep. Rouzer as well as the 217 Republican and Democratic House members from across the country who are standing with America’s beer industry and supporting legislation that provides fair and broad tax relief and regulatory reforms to brewers of all sizes and beer importers,” Beer Institute president and CEO Jim McGreevy said in a press release.

Supporters of the bill, which would lower excise taxes for all brewers and importers, include the Beer Institute, the Brewers Association, DISCUS, Wine America and Wine Institute trade groups, among others. They argue that it would create new jobs and stimulate the U.S. economy.

“This commonsense legislation will provide a much-needed update to the federal excise tax on beer so that all brewers and beer importers can continue to innovate and invest in their companies to meet consumer demand for America’s most popular alcohol beverage — beer,” McGreevy wrote.

Introduced into the U.S. House on January 30 by reps. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Ron Kind (D-WI), House Bill 747 would cut the federal excise tax to $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels for domestic brewers making fewer than 2 million barrels annually if passed.

The bill would also cut the federal excise tax to $16 per barrel on the first 6 million barrels for all other brewers and all beer importers while maintaining the $18 per barrel excise tax for brewers producing more than 6 million barrels.

Additionally, the bill would expand the list of ingredients that can be included in beer without federal approval.

A companion bill in the Senate (S. 236), cosponsored by Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), has 45 cosponsors. All told, CBMTRA has achieved bipartisan support from congressional members in 44 states and the District of Columbia. See a full list of sponsors here.

“Our work does not end with today’s announcement,” McGreevy added in an email to the trade association’s members. “We continue to meet with members of Congress and staff to grow the number of cosponsors for the legislation. We are also meeting with House and Senate leadership to educate them on the importance of brewer tax relief and to encourage them to pass the bill.”

In early June, the Brewers Association led a Washington D.C. hill climb and lobbying day for small and independent American craft brewers in an attempt to rally support for CBMTRA. The climb coincided with the group’s annual Savor craft beer and food pairing event.

In May, the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association released a study showing that U.S. beer industry is responsible for creating more than 2.2 million jobs that paid a combined $103.3 billion in wages and benefits.

The study, titled “Beer Serves America,” found that the U.S. beer industry contributed more than $350 billion in economic output, which is equal to 1.9 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

The Brewers Association predicts that CBMTRA would create an additional 9,000 jobs in the U.S. in the first 12 to 18 months should the law be enacted.

Earlier this year, McGreevy and other beer industry leaders discussed with Brewbound the importance of passing the bill. Watch the video below.

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