05.16.13

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Welcomes Jeff Hamilton of Sprecher Brewing Company to Capitol Hill for Dialogue on Small Breweries and Job Creation

Baldwin Co-Sponsors Tax Relief for Small Brewers

Washington D.C. –  Today, during American Craft Beer Week, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin welcomed Wisconsin Brewers’ Guild President Jeff Hamilton of Sprecher Brewing Company of Milwaukee to Capitol Hill. Baldwin and Hamilton attended the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee meeting which focused on the unique challenges facing small and craft brewers, as well as the role of small breweries in creating jobs.

“In order to create jobs and get Wisconsin growing again, we must support our small businesses, the engines of our economy,” said Baldwin. “Wisconsin is home to a growing number of small breweries, which are helping to move our economy forward by creating jobs and contributing to our tourism economy. Sprecher is a great small business success story that defines our proud “Made in Wisconsin” entrepreneurial spirit.”

Baldwin is a co-sponsor of the Small BREW (Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce) Act, S. 917, a bill to stimulate local economies with a reduction in the excise tax on each barrel of beer brewed by small brewers. The small brewer threshold and tax rate were established in 1976 and have never been updated. An economic impact study by Dr. John Friedman at Harvard University found that the bill would generate $183 million in economic activity and 5,230 jobs in just the first year. It would generate about $1.04 billion over five years.

“Wisconsin’s economy has been built on making things: paper, engines, tools, ships—and, yes, cheese, brats, and beer,” Baldwin said. “Brewers have been at the center of Wisconsin’s culture since our beginning. I’m proud to support tax relief for small brewers across Wisconsin because it will help us grow our small business economy and create jobs. Give our workers and businesses a fair shot, and we'll compete against anyone.”

According to the Brewers Association, craft brewers currently provide an estimated 108,440 jobs in the U.S., including serving staff in brewpubs. Growth of the craft brewing industry in 2012 was 15 percent by volume and 17 percent by dollars compared to growth in 2011 of 13 percent by volume and 15 percent by dollars. Craft brewers sold an estimated 13,235,917 barrels of beer in 2012, up from 11,467,337 in 2011.

Hamilton was invited to Washington, DC to participate in a Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee meeting attended by small brewer members of the Brewers Association.

“It was an honor to be in DC today representing Wisconsin brewers,” said Jeff Hamilton, President Wisconsin Brewers’ Guild. “It’s important that our elected officials are looking at these industries that can have such a profound impact on jobs in our state. I want to thank the Senator for taking the time to listen to these important Wisconsin issues.”

Hamilton served as Vice President and General Manager at Sprecher Brewing Company, Inc. from 2005 and currently serves as the President.  He is also President of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild. Sprecher Brewing Co. was founded in 1985 by Randal Sprecher, formerly a brewing supervisor at Pabst Brewing Company, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.