Tax breaks mooted for US brewers

A United States senator has introduced legislation that would cut taxes and modernise outdated regulations for the country’s craft brewers, cider makers, winemakers, and distillers.

Introducing the Craft Beverage Modernisation and Tax Reform Act, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said these industries are responsible for an estimated 40,000 jobs collectively and generate about $6 billion annually in revenue in his state alone.

“Oregon’s craft beer, wine, cider and spirits producers are both world-renowned and a huge boon to our state’s economy,” said Wyden, co-chair of the Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus.

“Each of these industries is unique, and this legislation takes targeted approaches to update antiquated rules and reduce taxes for these growing businesses to ensure that these innovators continue to create high-quality jobs for Oregonians.”

Brewers Association CEO Bob Pease said Senator Wyden had been a longtime champion for America’s craft brewers.

“He has been diligently working to reduce federal excise taxes for craft brewers through his co-sponsorship of the Small BREW Act. Now with the introduction of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, Senator Wyden has gone even further to ensure growth for small and independent brewers,” said Pease.

Deschutes Brewery founder Gary Fish said the legislation will enable Oregon’s breweries to continue to create good-paying jobs across the state.

“A fresh approach to eliminating outdated regulations and lowering taxes is a recipe for breweries’ uniquely Oregon success story to continue for years to come,” he said.

In addition to providing tax relief, the legislation would also:

  • reduce compliance burdens for craft beverage producers by exempting nearly 90 per cent of all industry members from complex bonding and bi-weekly tax filing requirements;
  • exempt aged beers, ciders, wines, and spirits from complicated and burdensome accounting rules;
  • reform rules on brewers to encourage more collaboration and streamline regulations;
  • equalise the playing field for all distilled spirits producers; and
  • cut administrative backlogs by ensuring the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which is charged with regulating these industries, is sufficiently funded. Additional enforcement funding and authority would help offset the cost of the bill by cracking down on tax cheats.

Wyden has long been a champion of craft beverage producers. Earlier this session he joined his colleagues to introduce the Small BREW Act, which would reduce the excise tax on each barrel of beer produced by small brewers. He has also consistently advocated to allow brewers to continue sending their spent grains to state farmers, and has fought to allow retailers and wineries to sell wine growlers in Oregon.

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