Sometimes, there’s actually some good political news: no indictments, no early-morning tweets crescendoing into CAPS LOCK, no mention of Russia or Manafort or healthcare or DACA or any of the other issues that seem to be distracting the nation from the real news: CBMTRA.
We’ve told you about CBMTRA before: the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act would reduce the excise tax for brewers producing under 60,000 barrels a year — that’s 98% of the industry — from $7/barrel to $3.50/barrel, cutting our tax liability in half. The BA expects that doing so would create an additional $320M that we could put back into the economy in terms of new jobs, new equipment, and better beer.
Each time we add a new job in the industry, an astounding 45 jobs are created in related industries — from farmers and producers to bottle makers and canning-line manufacturers. (Did we just tip our hand?) If each brewery adds one more job, with more than 5,300 breweries in this country, that’s over a quarter million jobs that stand to be created.
That’s… uh… like… freakin’ awesome! Sounds like an issue we can all get behind.
But… CBMTRA itself is old news. The bill has gotten through committee, the entire New Jersey delegation has signed on as co-sponsors, and the bill keeps gaining momentum.
So much momentum that the Brewers Association — the national organization representing the country’s small, independent brewers — recently announced that Senators James (Jim) Inhofe (R-OK) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) became the 51st and 52nd members of the United States Senate to officially endorse CBMTRA, meaning that a majority of both houses of Congress has signed on as co-sponsors.
“That’s a total win,” Ryan says. “When CBMTRA comes up for a vote, we’ve got all of the support we need from both sides of the aisle to ensure that the bill is passed, offering tax relief to the nation’s brewers and spurring job growth across the country.”
In this day and age of vitriol and venom on Capitol Hill, it’s good to see that there’s an issue that unites us all — that brings together, not only both sides of the aisle, but both houses of Congress in a spirit of job-creative unity.
In a recent statement, president and CEO of the Brewers Association, Bob Pease, said, “America’s small craft brewers are incredibly proud and appreciative of the strong bipartisan and bicameral support that we have received from the United States Congress. We are small Main Street manufacturers located in virtually every congressional district in the country, and employing more than 130,000 Americans. We truly are an American success story built on the passion that our small brewers have for their craft and their communities. Members of Congress see that passion, determination and success, and want to foster it. That is why more than half the United States Congress has co-sponsored the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. We are hopeful that this consensus legislation can be enacted this year.”
Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute, which represents brewers, beer importers and supply industries, agreed with Bob.
“Beer is bipartisan,” he said, “and I want to thank the broad coalition of Senate and House members from across the country for supporting this commonsense legislation that will provide critical tax relief to America’s brewers and beer importers. The beer industry helps to support more than 2.2 million American jobs in every congressional district across the country. I look forward to Congress taking up the bill and moving it to President Trump for his signature so that brewers and beer importers can continue to invest in their businesses to meet consumers’ demand for beer.”
CBMTRA isn’t only confined to craft beer — the entire craft beverage industry, from wineries to distilleries, stands to benefit from the reduction in excise taxes. With 1,200 distilleries and over 10,000 wineries throughout the country, the number of jobs created by this legislation will be staggering.
Now, the next step is to actually get CBMTRA on the floor of both houses for a vote. With President Trump’s dedication to tax reform, this hurdle is much smaller than it might otherwise be, with a bill-signing ceremony in the Oval Office not far off.
It’s just a matter of time.