At a meeting of the House Small Brewers Caucus yesterday, Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) was selected Vice Chairman by his colleagues in Congress. North Carolina's 10th Congressional District features a number of small and medium-sized breweries. Asheville has become the craft-brewing center of the Southeast -- boasting more breweries per capita than any U.S. city.
"Asheville is Beer City USA and I've always found it essential to support and promote our local businesses," said Congressman McHenry. "The Small Brewers Caucus fights for legislation that will help our local brewers grow and create more jobs, something we desperately need in this economy."
The Caucus was formed in 2007 by interested Members of Congress to gain a better understanding of all aspects of small brewing, from business and regulatory issues to the brewing process and history of the small brewing community. The major legislative priority for the Caucus is the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce (BREW) Act, a bill to reduce the excise tax rate on small breweries.
Win Bassett, Executive Director of the North Carolina Brewer's Guild said, "The North Carolina Brewers Guild was thrilled to host Rep. McHenry at some of the state's finest breweries in August of last year. The Congressman showed a sincere interest in helping the craft beer community in North Carolina continue to thrive, and the Guild looks forward to his leadership in the Caucus."
Oscar Wong, owner Highland Brewery, hosted one of the stops on McHenry's tour.
"All of us at Highland are delighted to hear of Congressman McHenry's selection as Vice Chair of the House Small Brewers Caucus. During his several visits to the area, two of which were to our brewery, he has demonstrated strong support for small business overall and in particular brewing which has grown so vigorously in North Carolina."
McHenry also visited Dennis Thies at Green Man Brewery, who applauded the Congressman for supporting local brewers.
"Congressman McHenry is an excellent choice and has exemplified a true passion and interest for our industry. Our agenda is very different than the "big boys" and it will be awesome to have his voice in congress. Furthermore, the small craft brewers are the future of this industry and will continue to have a positive, profound effect on our country's economy."