The BEER Act Introduced in Congress: Here Comes the Politics

I never really thought of beer as a commodity before.  It was a drink, and thanks to all the great brewers out there it is a fun and interesting drink.  Truth is we don’t talk very much about the business side of making great craft beer.  No, we just drink it and pretend that the other side takes care of itself so we can continue to drink new and interesting brews.  However, where there are sales there are profits, and where there are profits there are taxes, and where there are taxes there are politics.  

So what is the BEER Act?  It stands for the Brewer’s Employment and Excise Relief Act.  This act will reclassify craft brewers from 2 million barrels per year to 6 million.  Whats more is it will reduce taxes on beer from the current $7 per barrel for the first 60,000 barrels to $3.50 per barrel, and it will reduce taxes on small brewers  for those barrels between 60K and 2 million from $18 per barrel to $16.  This is to allow for greater investment into brewing and it is designed to help small brewers make a go of it in business.  Ultimately this should also help to increase revenue from taxes too as more small brewers get larger.  That is how cutting taxes increases tax revenue.

Obviously this can change as it works its way through both houses of congress, but the bones look good, and should help brewers continue to crank out fantastic beer and more of it.  The old saying goes “politics makes strange bedfellows”, and this bill is no exception.  It is co-sponsored by John Kerry (D) Massachusetts and John Crapo a Mormon (R) from Idaho.  If you ever told me a Mormon conservative republican from Idaho and an east coast ultra liberal would team up to help people make beer, an alcoholic drink that is not condoned by the Mormon church, I’d have said you were crazy.  But regardless let’s hope that weird bipartisan nature of this bill helps it go through congress easily.  I’m thinking the delegation from Missouri might not like this too much.  Let’s hope we can get them to say “Small brewers, This Bill’s for You”.

Now if we can just get them working on that three tiered distribution problem we have…



Categories: Beer, Official Business

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19 Comments on “The BEER Act Introduced in Congress: Here Comes the Politics”

  1. March 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    I read that too fast and thought you called him a Moron instead of a Mormon….then I remembered that I’m the only one who calls people morons on my blog, LOL!

    • Don
      March 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

      Correction Katie, you are the only person that could call people morons on your blog and get away with it! 😉

      • March 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

        Keeps us all awake if we get insulted now and again on a blog we frequent, but everyone knows I mean it as a term of endearment 🙂

        • Don
          March 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

          Yes, but what does it mean when people come to OUR blog and call US morons?

        • March 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

          It means they’ve been reading YOUR posts, Don.

        • Don
          March 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

          I knew you were going to say something like that Jim. You’re so mean.

        • March 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

          Well don’t set if you don’t want me to spike!!

        • Don
          March 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

          You’re supposed to spike it over the net, not back down into my face!

        • March 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

          Oops. 😉

  2. Alex
    March 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    Sounds like a win-win. When does the other shoe drop?

    As far as politics go, I subscribe to the philosophy of Paul LaFargue, Karl Marx’s son in-law. In his pamphlet “The Right to be Lazy,” he argues for a three-hour workday. More time to drink beer!

    I’m only sort of kidding.

    • March 11, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

      I too subscribe to the LaFarguian School of Half Effort.

      • Don
        March 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm #


  3. johnking82
    March 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    So does this mean cheaper beer?

    • Don
      March 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

      Probably not. But it might mean more employment, and more beer!

  4. March 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    I recall this was being done because Sam Adams is getting big enough that they won’t qualify as a craft brewer under the law, hence Senator Kerry’s sponsorship. It was introduced in the 111th Congress (we’re in the 112th now) as S.3339 in the Senate, and H.R.4278 in the House. Seems as though it didn’t go anywhere, thus Kerry’s reintroduction of the bill as S.534. The act as of my count has 18 co-sponsors, including one my WA Senators (Cantwell… I wonder where Murray is…). I can’t find the companion bill in the House, however a representative from MA (Neal) sponsored it last session in the house. Both bills were identical in wording, save for the mumbo jumbo about house/senate and sponsorship. And I believe the new bill mirrors his previous attempt at getting this through… it’s simple and straightforward, unlike much of what Congress has recently put into law.

    • Don
      March 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

      Agreed Tex. I think that SA won’t benefit as much, because they will still have to pay the $18 tax for every barrel over 2 million, but they will get the break up to the 2 million barrel point so long as they don’t go over the 6 million barrel point. So it is good for them but they won’t save as much as some of the smaller breweries on a percentage basis.

  5. March 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    I find Crapo’s involvement interesting, too. Basically he wants brewers to make and sell more beer and buy more hops and barley Idaho farmers produce because of it. Excellent. Good for beer. Good for farmers. I’m all for the bill.

    But it’s also interesting that a lot of that barley comes from Eastern Idaho which is largely mormon. Not bagging on the religion per-se. Just noting that the church doesn’t condone alcohol consumption, yet mormom farmers are quite happy to sell the barley that the eastern part of the state grows so much of to malters in the same area—which then goes into beer. And of course 10% of those mormon farmers’ incomes needs to go to church tithings. And a percent goes to the state in taxes, too.

    Apparently it’s just not politics. Politics, religion, farming, money and beer make strange bedfellows.

    • Don
      March 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

      But it is ALL politics Chad! 😉

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