There’s not much that people agree on these days in Washington, but beer appears to be one of them.
Conservative Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and liberal Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) joined forces in drafting the Brewer’s Employment and Excise Relief Act. The BEER Act, which is the most contrived name for legislation since last week’s BULB Act, would reduce the excise tax on barrels of beer from $7 a barrel to $3.50 for breweries that produce less than 20,000 barrels a year.
While the deal would be good for the little guys who are trying to compete with large breweries, there is something for everyone in the BEER Act. As currently written, the bill would reduce the tax rate from breweries that produce between 60,000 and 2 million barrels a year to $16 per barrel from $18 per barrel.
But what about those who brew between 20,000 barrels and 60,000 barrels each year. We've heard about the “doughnut” hole when it comes to medicare, the Halliburton loophole when it comes to fracking, but what shall we call the tax break gap between the 20,000 mark and the 60,000 mark? The “beer hole” seems to be a good nickname, though I am pretty sure a friend in college already took that one. How about the “keg pit?” Or perhaps the … oh never mind.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, if enacted into law, the BEER Act would save almost $20 million for more than 1,500 small breweries from coast to coast. The same story also reveals that the tax break for the big breweries would save companies about $27 million a year. In all, about 100,000 people work in the brewing industry in the United States.
So there you have it folks. Democracy in action. If the bill ever gets signed into law, we'll all have something to drink to.