Craft beer is becoming a big business around the country. It’s also made its way into Congress, where there is a Small Brewers Caucus in the House (it has 142 members). There are around 3,200 breweries across the nation employing about 110,000 people; breweries have become an important and valued economic activity in many communities. Congressman Patrick McHenry of North Carolina says “Brewers in my district are about not only about the sort of art of brewing, they’re about jobs.”
Two bills are being considered that would offer tax relief for brewers: the Small BREW Act and the Fair BEER ACT. There are important differences between the two, and some disagreement about which piece of legislation would best serve the needs of local brewers.
But not everyone is on board with the proposal. Bob Pease, CEO of the Brewers Association, says while there are some things to like about the Fair BEER Act, it’s not actually so fair.
“Where we go different ways is that the BEER Act also allows for federal excise tax relief for companies that in some cases are not making any beer in the United States,” Pease says during a recent trip to Washington. “The current playing field is not level.”
For a great read on how the innovations of UC San Diego alumni have led to the emergence of San Diego County as one of the nation’s leaders in the craft brew revolution, read this piece.