In today’s super partisan politics it’s not common that both parties can agree on anything. The good news is the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act may be that one thing. It was in December 2017 when the two parties passed legislation that lowered the Federal Excise Tax for wineries, breweries and distilleries for the first time in nearly 150 years. The good news is the legislation to reduce the FET passed. The bad news is it was not permanent. The reduction was only guaranteed for two years starting January 1, 2018 with an expiration date of December 31, 2019. What seemed like a long time then is a date that is rapidly approaching. Tick tock, tick tock!
Permanent Renewal of the Act Just Reached a Bipartisan Majority
Support for the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 1175/ S.362) continues to build momentum with 218 members of the United States House of Representatives and 65 members of the Senate supporting the bipartisan legislation. The names of the supporters are included below. If your state is not on the list please reach out to your local legislatures and encourage them to support this very important bill.
Introduced by Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), the legislation will make permanent reforms enacted in 2017 that create a fair and equitable tax structure for makers and importers of all beverage alcohol.
The support for the legislation by the majority of the House and Senate was celebrated by a coalition of alcohol trade associations including the Brewers Association, Beer Institute, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, American Craft Spirits Association, Wine Institute, WineAmerica and the United States Association of Cider Makers.
What Does a Reduction in Federal Excise Taxes Mean for Craft Distillers?
Craft distillers across the country share some of their personal stories on what the FET reduction has meant since January 1, 2018. It’s extremely important that this legislation be made permanent to keep these business running full steam ahead. As you will hear, this reduction has a ripple effect that means more local jobs, more equipment, support for local farms, and for some the first paycheck in several years.
Beverage Alcohol Association Leaders Speak Out
“The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act marked the first federal excise tax reduction for distilled spirits since the Civil War and has enabled distilleries across the country to invest back in their businesses and communities,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. “Making this legislation permanent would provide stability for distillers in moving forward to generate new jobs and support local agriculture and tourism.”
“We applaud the United States Congress for continuing to recognize the critical importance of Federal Excise Tax reform,” added Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO, American Craft Spirits Association. “As of August 2018, the number of active craft distillers in the U.S. had grown by 15.5 percent over the last year to nearly 2,000, yet without permanent and immediate reform, the stability of this vibrant industry, and the industries that surround us – agriculture, tourism and the broader hospitality industry – are bound to be paralyzed.”
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“America’s small and independent craft brewers are proud of the strong bipartisan and bicameral support the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act has received from the United States Congress,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO of the Brewers Association. “The craft brewing industry can be found in nearly every Congressional District in the U.S. and contributes more than 500,000 jobs, including an additional 15,000 directly added at small breweries just last year, showcasing the positive momentum supported by the temporary provisions. The industry is responsible for contributing more than $76.2 billion to the U.S. economy and is a success story for American industry. Our champions in Congress see our passion, determination and success, and want to foster and be part of our growth. We are grateful for the support from all those who have co-sponsored this important legislation and are hopeful that it can be enacted this year.”
“I want to thank the Democratic and Republican members of Congress from across the country who are standing with America’s beer industry and cosponsoring legislation that provides fair and broad tax relief and regulatory reforms to brewers of all sizes and beer importers,” said Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute, which represents brewers, beer importers and supply industries. “The beer industry supports millions of U.S. jobs and generates hundreds of billions of dollars to our nation’s economy. This commonsense legislation will provide a much-needed certainty, so 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.”
“We are grateful to the overwhelming number of lawmakers in the House and Senate who have cosponsored this legislation, which reduces the tax burden on over 4,800 wineries throughout the state of California and who produce 80 percent of U.S. wine,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute. “The savings will allow wineries across America– most of which are small, family-owned businesses – to hire new employees, upgrade equipment, and invest in the future growth of their wineries.”
“Wine is truly an all-American beverage produced in all 50 states. There are now more than 10,000 wine producers with grapes from over 670,000 acres preserving precious agricultural land. The American wine industry’s total economic impact of nearly $220 billion includes 1.7 million jobs and $75 billion in wages,” said Jim Trezise, president of WineAmerica, the national association of American wineries. “We are grateful that so many in Congress see wine as an economic engine as well as a delightful beverage that enhances the quality of life.”
“The cider industry is grateful for the broad support of CBMTRA,” said Paul Vander Heide, president of the United States Association of Cider Makers. “Many of our members are small producers with direct investment in agriculture here in the United States. This bill will provide them additional security for their families and capital to invest in growth opportunities for their business.”
July 2019 Public Policy Conference Fly-in
The Distilled Spirits Council and the American Craft Spirits Association have a Public Policy Conference scheduled for their next fly-in to D.C. on July 22-24, 2019. The two groups have joined forces to help make these temporary tax reductions permanent. The distilled spirits industry has a wide ranging impact well beyond the walls of their distilleries. The sales of distilled spirits support the wages, salaries and benefits of the workers as well as those employed as suppliers to the industry such as the farmers that provide the grains and the trucks that haul the raw material to the distillery and back out as finished product to market.
Supporters of Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act
Below is the list of cosponsors for these two bills as of today’s date. If you don’t see your state representative on the list please call, email or visit them. Better yet, invite them to your distillery and show them the impact the tax reduction has had on your business.
You can click on Cosponsor Name, Party or State to sort the list to easily find your representative.
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* = Original cosponsor
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* = Original cosponsor