The Virginia Distillers Association (VDA) joined 45 distilled spirits producers from across the country who gathered in Washington, D.C. June 20-21 for the Distilled Spirits Council’s (DISCUS) eighth annual Public Policy Conference.
Catoctin Creek Distillery, Copper Fox Distillery, KO Distilling, Ragged Branch Distillery, Virginia Distillery Company, and Vitae Spirits Distillery participated in more than six Congressional visits with their home state legislators to urge lowering the punitively high federal excise tax rate on spirits such as whiskey, vodka, rum and other distilled spirits products, and discuss other issues of importance to the sector.
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The delegation of VDA members met with Senator Tim Kaine, Senator Mark Warner, Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, Congressman Rob Wittman, and Congressman Tom Garrett to urge support for the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, which would lower the federal excise tax (FET) for spirits, beer and wine producers of all sizes for the first time since the Civil War. The bill is asking for a reduction from $13.50 to $2.70 for the first 100,000 proof gallons of spirits. The legislation currently has 45 sponsors in the U.S. Senate and 226 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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Members of the Virginia Distillers Association also invited the lawmakers to visit their distilleries to see firsthand the importance of the distillery to the surrounding community in terms of jobs, tourism and agriculture.
Gareth Moore, VDA President and CEO of Virginia Distillery Company expressed that “Partnering with the Distilled Spirits Council to advocate for improvements to our federal tax regime demonstrated how working together not only as Virginia distillers in Virginia but as distillers across the United States is effective in creating awareness for our legislators about the regulatory burdens our industry faces. Our delegation of Virginia distillers was strong in numbers, strong in enthusiasm, and strong in friendship as we met with our Representatives and Senators.”
The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act could lower the federal excise tax for spirits, beer and wine producers of all sizes for the first time since the Civil War.
The conference featured a series of legislative, regulatory and state breakout sessions on key federal and state issues impacting the distilling industry. Conference speakers included: Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA); Administrator of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau John Manfreda; and Ed Henry, chief national correspondent for the Fox News Channel.
“This conference brought together leaders in the distilling sector to discuss policy issues that impact them at both the federal and state levels,” said Distilled Spirits Council President & CEO Kraig R. Naasz. “We brought a united message to lawmakers that distillers of all sizes play an important role in the nation’s hospitality sector.”