Congress is trying to enact the bipartisan SMALL Brew Act. The bill would re-calibrate the existing taxes on breweries. Including decreasing the per barrel tax on those breweries that make less than 60,000 barrels per year.

More on the bill below from the Brewer’s Association:

The Small BREW Act seeks to recalibrate the federal beer excise tax that small brewers pay on every barrel of beer they produce. An earlier version of the bill, H.R. 494, was introduced in 2013 during the 113th Congress and also enjoyed significant bipartisan support, with a total of 182 Republican and Democratic supporters.

Under current federal law, brewers making less than 2 million barrels annually pay $7 per barrel [BTT emphasis] on the first 60,000 barrels they produce, and $18 per barrel on every barrel thereafter. The Small BREW Act seeks to establish a new rate structure that is reflective of the evolving craft brewing industry. If enacted, the rate for the smallest brewers and brewpubs would be $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels [BTT Emphasis.] For production between 60,001 and 2 million barrels, the rate would be $16.00 per barrel. For production over 2 million barrels, the federal excise tax would not change from its current $18 rate per barrel. Brewers with an annual production of 6 million barrels or less would qualify for these tax rates.

ALL of the breweries on the Tap Trail make far less than 60,000 barrels per year. They are truly our local neighborhood breweries. In 2013 Boundary Bay produced about 6,000 barrels of beer, but they are on track to produce much more than that in 2014 and in 2015.

Kulshan Brewing is building a brand new brewery (opening in March-ish) that will put them at a 15,000 barrel capacity, when in full swing. Even with that, they’ll be well under the 60,000 barrel mark. That means this tax reduction would be huge for them and every other brewery in Bellingham.

If I understand the new law, at full capacity 15,000 barrels of production would save around $52,500 ($3.50 x 15,000 barrels) per year in taxes. That’s one, if not two, living wage jobs. That’s a heck of a lot of money for our local breweries. Just think of all the other cool things these businesses could do with that extra money in our community. Bellingham’s largest breweries, Boundary Bay Brewery and Kulshan Brewing, will benefit the most from this proposed law, but all the breweries will benefit in the end. This can only be good for the Tap Trail!