Day of Action: Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act


Join the Brewers Association and the Washington Brewers Guild today, September 9th, for a day of action in support of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA), which is due to expire at the end of the year. The goal is to make the current, temporary federal excise tax (FET) rates permanent.

The Washington Beer Blog encourages you to contact your elected, federal officials and ask them to pass the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, S.362/H.R. 1175 (CBMTRA). The super-simple way to do it is to fill out the simple form found here. We share more info about other methods of contact below. Another way to help, share this post or any post on social media using the hashtag #PASSCBMTRA.



We have done a number of stories about the CBMTRA over the past few years. You can see them all here and educate yourself on the issue.

In simplest terms, Congress has extended temporary adjustments to the tax rate paid by the nation’s breweries in lieu of permanent changes to the antiquated federal excise tax structure. The federal excise tax is essentially a tax paid by a brewery based on how much beer it produces. It is a “per-barrel rate.” The current tax structure was devised a long time ago when the nation’s beer industry looked much different than it does today.

Targeted Relief for Smaller Breweries

The tax rate adjustment provided by the CBMTRA only applies to the first 60,000 barrels a brewery produces. A larger brewery only gets the reduced rate on the first 60,000 barrels of beer it produces. I have not seen the most recent production numbers, but suffice it to say that only a couple of the 400-plus breweries in Washington produce more than 60,000 barrels per year. In fact, the vast, vast majority of the approximately 8,000 breweries in the USA produce a fraction of that amount.



Unless Congress acts, on December 31st the current, temporary Federal Excise Tax rates will expire and breweries will see their taxes increase by as much as 100 percent. Breweries have already been negatively impacted by the national health crisis and are working vigilantly to survive and recover. An increase in excise taxes could have catastrophic results for many breweries already hanging on by a thread. Another temporary extension would help, but what the industry really needs is for these rates to become permanent.

What You Can Do

It’s simple, really. Either call or email your elected officials and tell them you want them to support the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (HR 1175, S 362).

The easiest and fastest way to contact your members of Congress is to simply call the U.S. Capitol switchboard and ask to speak to their office. You are asking your Senator/Representative to support the passage of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (HR 1175, S 362). Keep this page open so you have that name and those numbers handy.

Call (202) 224-3121 — the U.S. Capitol switchboard operator — and ask to speak to, for example, “Representative Jayapal’s office, please.” Use that number to call any member of the House or the Senate.

The person who answers the phone is a staffer, perhaps an intern, who has been tasked with manning the phones and logging the calls, noting what things people are interested in or concerned about. If all you do is tell them, “I want my representative/senator to support Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (HR 1175, S 362),” you’ve done enough. If you want to chat them up a bit about how important the craft beer industry is to you and to our economy, that’s even better.

You can also send an email. Click here to find out who represents you in the House of Representatives. It will include a link to their website, which includes an email link. It is easy to reach out to your elected officials and share your opinions and it mystifies me why more people don’t do that.

Contact Senator Patty Murray here

Contact Senator Maria Cantwell here



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *