Beer industry's bill on hold until bigger pieces are moved

While much of the action in the booze policy world takes place at the state and local level, alcohol producers have been actively pushing the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act in Congress. The bill would lower federal excise taxes for alcohol and loosen up other regulatory strictures imposed on breweries. Despite its broad support among both large-scale and craft producers, it hasn't passed either house of Congress yet this session. Chuck Raasch discusses the reasons why in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"The beer industry, from the smallest craft brewers to the giant Anheuser-Bush InBev, is behind a long-awaited rewrite of the federal tax code on beer. More than half the members of the U.S. House have signed on as co-sponsors of a bipartisan bill to do that, and nearly half the U.S. Senate has put its name on that body's version.

So why hasn't it happened?

Like many other pieces of legislation in Washington during the first five months of Donald Trump's presidency, a few big pieces have to move first before anything like the beer bill can follow...

[The legislation] is supported by both the Beer Institute, which represents the big brewers, and the Brewers Association, which represents the craft-brew industry that has exploded over the last two decades.

The measure would maintain the federal excise tax of $18 per barrel on every barrel of beer over 6 million produced by a single brewer. It would reduce that tax to $16 a barrel for the first 6 million barrels while reducing the tax to $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels produced by any brewer that makes under 2 million barrels of beer a year.

The intent is to stimulate the small-producer sector and beer production in the U.S., while still maintaining revenue to the U.S. Treasury. The bill would also ease federal restrictions on ingredients that can be added to beer, and allow small, independent brewers to collaborate on new beers by giving them the flexibility to transfer beer between breweries without federal tax consequences..."

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