The Wall Street Journal last week reported that there is a growing urge from a bipartisan group of senators who are pushing a plan to cut taxes on the United States legion of small brewers in order to stimulate hiring among craft brewers. It should come as no surprise to the avid beer drinker, but in the wake of the economic recession, craft beer is one of the very few industries to actually be thriving and expanding. In 2009 Craft Beer grew 7.2% by volume and 5.9% in 2008. This when overall beer sales actually fell.
Two key instruments proposed by Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.) would help craft brewers continue to build; first would lower the per-barrel excise tax, and second would triple the size of what the government classifies as a Craft Brewery (up to 6 million barrels per year of production from 2). Both of these would greatly help already thriving breweries to continue to expand without worrying about bursting above the 2 million barrel/year craft beer cap, and along with younger breweries, they would save nearly half their federal tax bill.
Sam Calagione, Founder and President of the Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware, one of the most successful and fast growing breweries in the world, says that the lower excise will save him over $350,000 per year in taxes. This money could be put to good use expanding brewing capacity and adding much needed helping hands to brewing and pub operations. Beyond the individual breweries themselves, new and increased stimulus to the craft beer market can help total beer sales return to their previous highs, and will require added hands and help to the distribution side of the beer market.
By now I think that it is obvious that people need good beer, and so does the economy. For specific details on Senator Kerry’s proposal, please see his website.