Congress unites over BEER bill

Sen. John Kerry wants to lower excise taxes on small breweries.Sen. John Kerry wants to lower excise taxes on small breweries. By Charles Riley, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Lawmakers can't agree on anything except ... beer.

That's right. Earlier this week, a Democrat joined with a Republican to introduce legislation in the Senate that would lower excise taxes on small breweries.

Currently, breweries pay a $7 dollar tax per barrel for the first 60,000 barrels they produce each year. The bill would drop that fee to $3.50, and for production in excess of 60,000 the tax would fall from $18 per barrel to $16.

The bill is called the Brewer's Employment and Excise Relief -- or BEER -- Act. Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Mike Crapo of Idaho introduced the measure, and were joined by eight Republicans and nine Democrats who signed on as co-sponsors.

Kerry framed the bill as a way to help small breweries compete against the huge multinational companies that dominate the U.S. beer market.

"The craft beer revolution started right here in Massachusetts and they've been going toe to toe with multi-national beer companies ever since," Kerry said in a statement.

Congress considered similar legislation last year, but it was never enacted.

The bill would also modify the definition of a small brewery, raising the barrel limit from 2 million per year to 6 million. The Brewers Association, a trade group that represents small breweries, made a similar change in definition earlier this year.

Nick Matt, chair of the Brewers Association and CEO of F.X. Matt Brewing Company, which brews Saranac, said in January that the change in definition was necessary to accommodate the success of small breweries.

"Rather than removing members due to their success, the craft brewing industry should be celebrating our growth." Matt said in a statement.

The small brewer federal tax rate was established in 1976 and has never been updated. In addition to federal regulations, small breweries must also navigate a series of famously opaque state and local brewing regulations. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Questions & Answers



QHow does a florist sell more in this economy? We changed our business to designing weddings and events only, as the everyday flowers are not selling. We had to throw out too much product at the end of the week -- flowers are perishable! More
Get Answer
- The Flower Lady, Suwanee, Ga.
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.04%4.13%
15 yr fixed3.04%3.09%
5/1 ARM3.22%3.22%
30 yr refi4.08%4.18%
15 yr refi3.11%3.16%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:

Sections

The Internet could be both villain and savior to Sony by giving it an option on how to release its controversial comedy. More

Fed chief Janet Yellen believes the steep drop in oil prices is a net positive for the U.S. economy More

Reddit made the unusual decision to take down a subreddit that housed hacked Sony Pictures materials. More

News startup The Skimm announced a new round of funding, 1 million active readers, and plans to expand into a 'lifestyle brand.' More

Congress waited until the last minute to decide what to do with a slew of expired tax breaks. They extended most of them, and a handful will affect individuals directly. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.