For example, at my brewery in Alexandria, Va., we brewed 6,000 barrels in 2012. Any savings that we would receive through this legislation would be plowed right back into our brewery, enabling us to increase production and the demand for our product. This, in turn, would mean we would need to hire more people to handle the increased production. Congress has not recalibrated the excise tax on small brewers since 1976. At that time, there were 30 small brewers; today, there are more than 70 times as many, each one a driving economic force.
If this legislation is enacted, it would provide small brewers with an additional $60 million per year that would be used to support significant long-term investments in tanks and other equipment and create jobs by growing their businesses on a regional or national scale. Every small brewer in America would receive relief and would be empowered to grow and hire more workers, allowing them to meet the increasing demand for craft beer. This would have positive repercussions down the food chain. That means more jobs for brewers, for hop and barley growers, for tourism boards, for restaurants, local brewpubs and beer shops.
On average, every American lives within 10 miles of a brewery, and millions have toured or tasted at their local brewery. The U.S. now has more beer styles and brands to choose from than any other market in the world, allowing craft-beer beginners and enthusiasts access to the planet’s most diverse selection of uniquely flavored beer, produced by independent brewers. These small breweries are truly a national treasure. They are the backbone of a thriving economy. We must do what we can to make sure the little guys succeed.
Bill Butcher is founder of the Port City Brewing Co., based in Alexandria, Va.