How do you define a “small” brewery?

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This is a call to arms. As craft beer enthusiasts, we need to make our voices heard. A new bill has been introduced in the other Washington that promises to help the craft brewing industry nationwide. We all need to contact our representatives and tell them to support H.R. 4278. It is easy and quick to send a note to your congress person. All you need to know is your zip code.

What is Small?

The small brewer tax rate was established in 1976 and has never been updated. The world was a different place back then and the tax code defined a “small brewery” as one producing less than 2 million barrels per year. In short, a brewery making 190 barrels per year pays the same federal excise tax rate as a brewery producing 1.9 million barrels per year.

Most brewers in Washington produce less than 10,000 barrels per year. Even the most ubiquitous of local craft breweries (not counting Redhook) produces less than 50,000 barrels per year. Setting the “small brewery” ceiling at 2 million barrels hearkens back to a time when there was no craft beer industry in America and a brewery like Rainier was considered small.


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H.R. 4278, introduced in December 2009 by Democrat Representative Richie Neal (MA) and Republican Representative Kevin Brady (TX), would redefine the ceiling defining a small brewery and reduce the beer excise tax for small brewers from $7 to $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels of beer production.

Action is Easy


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The Brewers Association has an official Call to Action posted on their Web site. You can read it here.

It is very easy to contact your representative and make your opinion known. Just click here, enter your zip code, and fill out the simple form. You don”t need to be fancy, long winded, or eloquent. Just tell them that you want them to support H.R. 4278.

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Here is the simple message I sent my representative this morning:

I urge you to support H.R. 4278 – a bill that provides much-needed updates to the small brewer tax regulations. Please take a moment to consider the robust and growing craft beer industry here in Washington state and support H.R. 4278.

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@washingtonbeerblog
@beerblog

12 thoughts on “How do you define a “small” brewery?

  1. 2 million barrels? Why are our beer laws a century old?

    I contacted McDermott. Thanks for the heads-up.

  2. 2 million barrels? Why are our beer laws a century old?

    I contacted McDermott. Thanks for the heads-up.

  3. Call for action. Small breweries need this change. If you want to support yoru local brewery, you need to support this by contacting your congressman today.

  4. Call for action. Small breweries need this change. If you want to support yoru local brewery, you need to support this by contacting your congressman today.

  5. Congressman McDermott’s reply:
    “Thank you for your recent communication asking me to support HR 4278. I am a co-sponsor of the legislation and appreciate the time you have taken to let me know you support it, too. Please be assured that I will keep your comments in mind as the bill moves forward in the 111th Congress.

    If you are interested in following this particular piece of legislation through the legislative process, the website hosted by the Library of Congress at http://thomas.loc.gov is extremely helpful. It provides a wealth of information about legislation under consideration in the current Congress as well as bills introduced in earlier sessions. The site is called Thomas to honor President Thomas Jefferson and his belief in public access to the workings of government.

    Again, thank you for contacting me. As a representative in Congress, it is critical that I understand the views of my constituents. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

    Sincerely,
    Jim McDermott
    Member of Congress

  6. Congressman McDermott’s reply:
    “Thank you for your recent communication asking me to support HR 4278. I am a co-sponsor of the legislation and appreciate the time you have taken to let me know you support it, too. Please be assured that I will keep your comments in mind as the bill moves forward in the 111th Congress.

    If you are interested in following this particular piece of legislation through the legislative process, the website hosted by the Library of Congress at http://thomas.loc.gov is extremely helpful. It provides a wealth of information about legislation under consideration in the current Congress as well as bills introduced in earlier sessions. The site is called Thomas to honor President Thomas Jefferson and his belief in public access to the workings of government.

    Again, thank you for contacting me. As a representative in Congress, it is critical that I understand the views of my constituents. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

    Sincerely,
    Jim McDermott
    Member of Congress

Comments are closed.