07.28.15

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Cosponsors Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act

Legislation Helps Wisconsin Breweries and Cider, Wine and Distilled Spirits Industries

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin cosponsored legislation that would promote continued job creation in breweries throughout Wisconsin and the country. The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, would cut taxes and modernize outdated regulations for craft brewers, cider makers, vintners and distillers.

“Our breweries are vital to our state’s Made In Wisconsin economy and our heritage,” said Senator Baldwin. “Wisconsin beer makers not only brew famous lagers, they create jobs and spur investment in communities throughout the state. I am proud to support legislation that will give Wisconsin businesses the ability to continue to thrive and hire more hardworking Wisconsinites.”

The legislation builds on industry consensus and a number of popular proposals, including the Small BREW Act and the Fair BEER Act, both cosponsored by Senator Baldwin. The bill also builds on the Distillery Excise Tax Reform Act sponsored by Senator Gary Peters (D-MI);  the CIDER Act sponsored by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY);  the AGED Spirits Act sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY); and the Craft Beverage Bond Simplification Act, which was approved by the Finance Committee earlier this year. In addition, the legislation includes a variety of new proposals to reduce tax and regulatory burdens for each industry.

In addition to providing tax relief for brewers, cider makers, vintners, and distillers, this legislation would also reduce compliance burdens for craft beverage producers by exempting nearly 90 percent of all industry members from complex bonding and bi-weekly tax filing requirements. The bill would exempt aged beers, ciders, wines, and spirits from complicated and burdensome accounting rules. It would reform rules on brewers to encourage more collaboration and streamline regulations. And it would equalize the playing field for all distilled spirits producers.  Finally, this bill would cut administrative backlogs by ensuring the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which is charged with regulating these industries, is sufficiently funded. Additional enforcement funding and authority would help offset the cost of this bill by cracking down on tax cheats.

In support of the legislation, Senators Baldwin and Ron Wyden (D-OR) hosted a “Happy Half-Hour Hangout” on Google with craft brewers Gary Fish, owner of Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, and Jeff Hamilton, President of Sprecher Brewing Co. in Glendale, Wisconsin. Watch the Hangout here.  

Senator Baldwin has long been a champion of Wisconsin brewers. Earlier this year, Senator Baldwin joined the introduction of the bipartisan Small BREW Act, a bill to stimulate regional economies nationwide with a reduction in the excise tax on each barrel of beer brewed by small brewers. The Small BREW Act would enable Wisconsin’s craft breweries to reinvest over $1.5 million into their businesses each year. Senator Baldwin also introduced the Fair Brewers Excise and Economic Relief Act (Fair BEER Act) to comprehensively reform the federal beer tax imposed on brewers and help boost Wisconsin’s breweries. The Fair BEER Act would promote further growth in the industry and encourage continued investment and job creation through broad excise tax reforms.