Two Competing Bills Look To Reduce Excise Taxes On Beer

brewery-083by Steven Doyle

The House and Senate both are looking after your beer drinking this summer. There are currently bills that seek to lower the federal excise tax on each barrel of beer produced by brewers large and small are awaiting discussion in House and Senate fiscal committees.

There is the Small Brew Act (House Resolution 494 and its companion, Senate Bill 917), which seeks to reduce the tax on each barrel from $7.00 to $3.50 but only on the first 60,000 barrels produced within a year. Companies that produce more than 60,000 barrels but fewer than 2 million barrels would pay a $16 rate.    


The Small Brew Act would provide no tax relief to the behemoth brewers that produce more than 6 million barrels, such as Anheuser-Busch and Coors, which currently pay $18 per barrel. A barrel is the equivalent of two full-sized kegs.

Most small brewers like we have in Dallas are supporting the Small Brew Act even though competing legislation, known as the Beer Act, would provide greater tax relief. Under the Beer Act (HR 1918 and SB 958), brewers of 15,000 barrels or fewer would pay no federal excise tax.

Colorado Democrat Sen. Mark Udall, is the lead sponsor of SB 958, the Senate version of the Beer Act and claims it would result in 90 percent of Colorado’s licensed breweries paying no federal excise taxes.

“Colorado is one of the top beer-producing states in the country, and our innovative brewers have rightly earned Colorado a reputation as the Napa Valley of beer,” he said. “These aren’t your dad’s beers, and we shouldn’t discourage brewers from growing their businesses with an outdated excise tax.”

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