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Two US politicians have re-introduced a bill aimed at cutting the amount of federal excise tax that the country's small brewers pay.

Craft brewers are seeking a tax cut to help further growth

Craft brewers are seeking a tax cut to help further growth

The Small Brewer Reinvestment & Expanding Workforce Act, known as the 'Small Brew Act', was tabled again in the House of Representatives last week by Republican Erik Paulsen and Democrat Richard Neal. An earlier version of the bill was introduced in 2013, but failed to make it onto the statute books despite getting “significant bi-partisan support”, the Brewers Association said.

Under the current rules, brewers that produce less than 2m barrels annually pay US$7 per barrel on their first 60,000 barrels, and $18 per barrel on every one thereafter.

However, the Small Brew Act, if enacted, would see the smallest brewers and brewpubs pay $3.50 tax on their first 60,000 barrels. Brewers producing between 60,001 and 2m barrels, would be taxed at $16 per barrel. Firms producing more than 2m barrels per year would be taxed at the current rate of $18 per barrel.

“The tax code needs to catch up to the nature of the brewing industry and not penalise the nation’s small brewers,” said Paulsen. “Our bill rightfully recalibrates the beer excise tax for America’s craft brewers, allowing them to grow and reinvest in their businesses.”

Bob Pease, the Brewers Association's CEO, added: “While small brewers pay the same business and employment taxes as other business categories, they are also burdened with an industry-wide federal and state excise tax which impede their growth.

“We look forward to working with Congress to ensure the passage of this fair and meaningful bi-partisan legislation.”

Craft brewers in the US are continuing to grow strongly, with volumes rising 18% in 2013, while many mainstream light lagers have suffered.

A rival brewing act, backed by the Beer Institute, known as the 'Beer Act', has so far failed to become law. The proposal, first tabled in 2013 and supported by the likes of Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors, would see federal tax cut for all brewers, regardless of their size.


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