U.S. Senate bill seeks to lower craft brewery excise tax

American Craft Beer Week has gotten a congressional boost.

beer-in-ice_rgbSen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is one of 18 bipartisan sponsors of legislation that would reduce the excise tax on brewers that make up to 6 million barrels of beer per year to $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels and $16 on additional barrels under two million annually.

Small brewers, defined as those that brew fewer than two million barrels per year, pay $7 in excise taxes per barrel for the first 60,000 barrels annually.

Collins filed the bill last week. Sponsors were not listed on the congressional website.

It could have an impact in Mississippi. Since the alcohol content in beer made and sold in the state was raised last year, a handful of breweries have started operation that would qualify for tax under the Small BREW Act.

An economic impact study by Dr. John Friedman at Harvard found the bill would generate $153 million in economic activity in the first year and almost $865 million over five years. It would create nearly 4,400 jobs in the first year.

A similar bill has been introduced in the House.

The small brewer threshold and tax rate were established in 1976 and have not been updated. Since then, according to figures Collins supplied in a press release, the annual production of America’s largest brewery increased from 45 million barrels to 105 million barrels.

American Craft Beer Week, observed May 13-19, is designed to celebrate and bring awareness to America’s small and independent craft brewers and their contributions to America’s communities and our economy.

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