Senator Baldwin Wants Tax Break For Craft Brewers


U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc) says she’s trying to help small Wisconsin craft brewers get a federal tax break.

There’s been a lot of growth among small brewers in the United States, and Jeff Hamilton of Milwaukee’s Sprecher Brewing concedes that craft brews are pretty popular right now: “There are a lot more of them opening up, so in that sense yes, things are going pretty good.”

But Hamilton, who is also president of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild – a group of about 45 brewing companies – went to Capitol Hill this week to argue for a bill that would reduce the excise tax, a tax tied to the amount of production on each barrel of beer brewed by small brewers. Senator Baldwin is a co-sponsor of the measure.

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She contends the millions of dollars in federal revenue lost by the tax cut would be more than offset by small brewers adding employees, who would then pay more income taxes: “Alleviation and reduction of the excise tax is going to be a direct investment in our local economy, in our local communities, and lead to jobs.”

Baldwin says through separate efforts, larger brewing companies like MillerCoors are also looking for a reduction in their excise tax. Some of the larger brewers, as well as economic think tanks, are questioning whether some of the larger craft brewers are now too big to be considered a small brewer. But Sprecher’s Jeff Hamilton says his point is that the true small brewers opening up in small towns can be a sizable plus for the local economy: “It does bring back little towns, it brings people into towns.”

Senator Baldwin says it’s too early to tell when the full congress might take up the excise tax reduction bill, called Small BREW.