Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) announced his support for the Brewer's Employment and Excise Tax Relief (BEER) Act (S.534), a bipartisan bill that lowers an excise tax that small brewers pay based on how many barrels of beer they produce. The bill would allow Connecticut's growing craft beer industry to hire more workers and attract more tourists to the state.
"The future of Connecticut is about growing small businesses like the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company that make a Connecticut product and hire Connecticut workers," said Blumenthal. "The proposal gives Connecticut's exploding craft beer industry a leg up by cutting in half a painful and outdated tax, bringing economic activity and new visitors to the state."
After Blumenthal made his announcement, he toured Thomas Hooker Brewing Company in Bloomfield, Conn. According to Curt Cameron, President of Thomas Hooker Brewing Company, the bill would save the brewery approximately $40,000-$50,000 per year. The bill would save all Connecticut breweries and brewpubs approximately $300,000 per year.
"The $3.50 per barrel savings would be helpful, providing a little extra money to pump back into the business," said Cameron. "Additionally, most small breweries pay this tax quarterly and I can tell you it can certainly be a painful tax to pay at the end of the quarter."
Currently, brewers pay a $7 excise tax for the first 60,000 barrels they brew per year. Under the BEER Act that Blumenthal co-sponsored, that rate would be slashed to $3.50 per barrel, resulting in potential savings of $210,000 per year for a brewery. The bill would also cut the tax by $2 on the next 1,940,000 barrels, resulting in potential savings of $3,880,000 per year for a brewery.