Gardner, Bennet Introduce Bill to Boost Craft Beverage Industry

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R) and Michael Bennet (D)—members of the Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus—today introduced legislation to help ensure the continued growth of America’s craft beverage industry. The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act would permanently establish reduced taxes and modernized regulations for brewers, cider makers, vintners, and distillers to further promote job creation in each industry.


“Colorado is home to more than 350 small and independent brewers that employ more than 20,000 people,” said Senator Gardner. “The industry contributes significantly to our state’s economy, and it’s important that Washington doesn’t stand in the way of its continued success. The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act makes permanent the craft beverage changes in the 2017 tax reform and includes other provisions that have not yet been made law. Passing this bill will help small brewers and distillers to grow, create jobs, and boost communities across the four corners of Colorado and throughout our country.”


“This is commonsense legislation that will relieve Colorado’s craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries from outdated regulations that stunt growth and innovation,” said Bennet, a member of the Senate Committee on Finance. “Fostering economic opportunity for beverage producers in Colorado not only strengthens our small businesses, but also has far reaching effects for their employees and the communities they serve.”


In 2016, the brewing industry alone contributed more than $350 billion to the U.S. economy, directly and indirectly employing about 2.23 million Americans. The wine industry contributed $220 billion and 1.7 million jobs, and spirits contributed more than $173 billion and 1.5 million jobs.


The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act would provide funding for Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) programs that accelerate processing of formula and label applications and enforce fair trade practices. It would simplify the lengthy process for approving non-traditional beer formulas, promote innovation in brewing, and allow for the transfer of beer and bottled spirits in bond—increasing collaboration among brewers and reducing tax burdens for distillers.


If passed, small brewers and distillers would receive reduced excise taxes, and small wine producers would receive an expanded excise tax credit. Provisions similar to many of those in the bill passed in 2017 and 2018 and are set to expire at the end of 2019.


A one-page summary of the legislative proposal can be found here. A longer, section-by-section summary can be found here. Legislative text can be found here.