The nation’s small and independent breweries are asking for your help. At the end of this month, the Federal Excise Tax (FET) paid by breweries will drastically increase. For years now, the industry has been united in its efforts to rework the current excise tax structure and make it more equitable for the nation’s small, independent breweries — a segment of the beer industry that didn’t really exist when existing tax codes were written. For the past couple of years, the industry has enjoyed a temporary reduction in the FET rate, but that is set to expire at the end of this month.
- The Washington Brewers Guild and the Brewers Association ask that you participate in today’s “Day of Action” by contacting your members of Congress. Below, I outline how to do that.
- What they are asking you to do is tell Congress to actually move forward with something that already enjoys widespread, bipartisan support.
- Yes, they are busy doing other things right now, and it may seem they are singularly focused, but the truth is Congress is still working to pass legislation like this.
- If you can’t get to it today, tomorrow is fine too! Any day, really. Just do it.
Feel like you need to know more before you support this? Click here to learn more about this issue.
To show your support:
- The least you can do, there’s a super-simple form that only takes a few seconds to fill out and submit: https://p2a.co/jCFN85n.
- But calling or emailing your representative’s office is very valuable and it is a super-easy way to participate in our democracy. It is not scary or intimidating at all. They work for us, remember?
- Click here to find out who represents you in the House of Representatives.
- They all have the same phone number: (202) 224-3121.
The easiest and fastest way to contact your members of Congress, assuming you know their names, 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.”
- Each of my three calls took exactly one minute (and I even chatted the interns up about how important the local beer industry is in Washington — so many small breweries creating so many jobs and contributing so much to the state’s economy, blah blah blah.
- Simply tell the nice intern that answers the phone and logs your call that you want the representative/senator to support the passage of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act.
- Make sure you know the bill number (HR 1175, S 362) because they may ask.
- You can chat them up a bit if you like, or simply say thank you. The call will be logged either way.
- Remember, you’re talking to a pretty low-level staffer who is simply logging calls and opinions, and passing along information. But, they do like to talk about stuff if you do.
Passing the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act will make permanent reforms enacted in 2017 that create a fair and equitable tax structure for brewers, winemakers, distillers, cider makers and importers of all beverage alcohol. The bill currently has 324 cosponsors in the House and 74 in the Senate.
Here is the press release from the Washington Brewers Guild
Washington State Small and Independent Craft Brewers Face Increased Taxes if Rate Expires on Dec. 31
Seattle, WA • Dec. 5, 2019 – In less than 30 days, the recalibrated Federal Excise Tax (FET) rate for over 400 small and independent breweries in Washington State will expire. These small businesses are asking Congress to prioritize and pass the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act or extend the current excise tax rates before Dec. 31. Since its enaction at the end of 2017, the reduced FET has enabled small and independent brewers across our state to re-invest in their business, hire new employees and grow their breweries.
“The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act has been crucial to the success of small and independent brewers in Washington and needs our full support,” said Annie McGrath, Executive Director of the Washington Brewers Guild. “The craft beer industry has experienced sustained growth in Washington and across the country and the current FET rate has gone a long way to empower our brewers to make significant investments into their businesses. Washington breweries provide over 6,300 jobs statewide and contribute $1.4 billion to Washington’s economy. Breweries operate in every state and nearly every congressional district in the country and if the current rate is allowed to expire, the tax increase may have a chilling effect on job creation. America’s beer industry is one of the jewels of America’s manufacturing sector—supporting more than 2.1 million jobs – 559,545 of which come from the craft industry.”
The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act is uniquely bipartisan legislation, with support from more than half of the U.S. Congress. Recalibrated FET rates have saved the American craft brewing industry nearly $80 million annually and helped provided certainty and stability for more than 7,500 breweries across the country including over 400 in Washington State. If the legislation is not acted upon, not only will American and Washington brewers alike face a massive financial burden, but more than 2,000 new brewers who have only been in operation since Jan. 1, 2018 and who have never before paid the tax, will see a 100 percent tax increase.
About the Washington Brewers Guild
The Washington Brewers Guild (WBG) is a 501 (c) 6 non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the common interests of Washington craft brewers through legislative advocacy and brewer community building.
The WBG works to unite WA craft brewers and provide a strong and effective voice for the industry to the Legislature and other critical policy-making entities. The WBG provides support to its member breweries by helping brewers navigate state beer laws, providing education forums on issues of interest and importance to WA brewers and connecting brewers with fellow brewers and beer industry suppliers.
The WBG produces two festivals annually: Cask Beer Festival in March and Winter Beer Festival in December. Both are can’t-miss events for WA beer lovers. Festivalgoers can feel good knowing that all proceeds from these events go directly to support the WA brewing community.