As thousands of New Jerseyans prepare to celebrate during American Craft Beer Week, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez joined several colleagues in introducing the “Small BREW Act” (S. 917, The Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act) to fuel regional economies with a reduction in the excise tax on each barrel of beer brewed by small brewers.
“If beer – as some say – is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, then this bill would prove that Americans love craft brewers. It would cut their tax burden, allow them to hire more people, and create more artisan brews,” said Sen. Menendez. “From Flying Fish to Cricket Hill to Cape May Brewing Company, New Jersey is home to some of the best local craft beer breweries in the nation. And not only do they produce great brews, they serve as anchors of many local communities. With this bill, we can invest in these local businesses, creating jobs and boosting our economy.”
Under current law, brewers generally pay an $18 excise tax on each barrel brewed. Small brewers, currently defined as those that brew fewer than 2 million barrels of beer a year, pay a reduced excise tax of $7 per barrel for the first 60,000 barrels of beer they brew each year. The Small BREW Act would reduce the excise tax applicable to brewers producing up to 6 million barrels per year to just $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels and $16 on additional barrels below 2 million per year.
An economic impact study by Dr. John Friedman at Harvard University found that the bill would generate $183.1 million in economic activity in the first year and almost $1.04 billion over five years and would also create nearly 5,230 jobs in just the first year. New Jersey is home to 31 craft brewers, with at least 28 more in the planning stages.
The small brewer threshold and tax rate were established in 1976 and have never been updated. Since then, the annual production of America’s largest brewery increased from 45 million barrels to 105 million barrels. Raising the ceiling that defines small breweries from 2 million barrels to 6 million barrels more accurately reflects the intent of the original differentiation between large and small brewers in the U.S.
American Craft Beer Week, May 13-19, is a weeklong celebration of America’s small and independent craft brewers and their contributions to America’s communities and our economy.