Action Alert!

The Brewers Association sent out an Action Alert to the Support Your Local Brewery network today in an effort to stop the proposed increase in the federal beer excise tax. Over 300,000 beer enthusiasts and supports received the alert.

Although the Action Alert is asking the hundreds of thousands of beer enthusiasts across the county to contact their Senator, you as a brewing industry member should do the same! State in your letter or phone call that you are employed in the beer industry and that jobs are at stake.

The Action Alert stated the following:

Dear Beer Enthusiast,
Small brewers are facing an imminent and extremely serious threat to their businesses. The consequences of remaining silent have the very real potential of reducing your choice of beer and dramatically increasing the price of any beer that you purchase.
The Senate Finance Committee in Washington, DC is currently considering a proposal to increase and equalize the excise tax for alcohol beverages as part of healthcare reform deliberations. This proposal would triple the excise tax for 4.5% ABV beer and impose even higher excise tax rates for higher ABV beers.

If such a proposal becomes reality, there is no question that many small brewery businesses will suffer, some will close and consumers will face higher prices and diminished choice in the marketplace.

The Brewers Association brewery members and leadership have been actively engaged in building the case against an excise tax increase, recently submitting a letter to the Committee outlining our opposition.
For a copy of a smaple letter, go to:

We need you to speak out now. Today or tomorrow at the latest.

If you live in the following states it is most urgent that you contact your Senator who is on the Senate Finance Committee:
Arizona Nevada Arkansas New Jersey Delaware New Mexico Florida New York Idaho North Dakota Iowa Oregon
Kansas Texas Kentucky Utah Maine Washington Massachusetts West Virginia Michigan Wyoming

If your Senators are not members of that committee, ask them to contact their Finance Committee colleagues and express their opposition to this proposal moving forward.

Your ask of them is simple:

Oppose the Tax Increase. Let them know that you oppose, in the strongest possible terms, raising the federal excise tax on beer because of the serious consequences it would have on small brewers and the craft beer they brew. Additional talking points appear below.

Once again: If one of your Senators sits on the Senate Finance Committee (roster of members below), urge them to oppose this proposal in committee deliberations.

If your Senators are not members of that committee, ask them to contact their Finance Committee colleagues and express their opposition to this proposal moving forward.
Take Action – Call and/or email your Senators’ Washington or district offices and make your personal case against this massive excise tax increase.
To find your Senator’s contact info, go to:

As always, thanks for your support.

Charlie Papazian

President, Brewers Association
Senate Finance Committee Members:
Baucus, Max (MT), Chairman Bingaman, Jeff (NM)
Bunning, Jim (KY) Cantwell, Maria (WA)
Carper, Thomas R. (DE) Conrad, Kent (ND)
Cornyn, John (TX) Crapo, Mike (ID)
Ensign, John (NV) Enzi, Michael B. (WY)
Grassley, Chuck (IA), Ranking Member Hatch, Orrin G. (UT)
Kerry, John F. (MA) Kyl, Jon (AZ)
Lincoln, Blanche L. (AR) Menendez, Robert (NJ)
Nelson, Bill (FL) Roberts, Pat (KS)
Rockefeller, John D. (WV) Schumer, Charles E. (NY)
Snowe, Olympia J. (ME) Stabenow, Debbie (MI)
Wyden, Ron (OR)

Small brewers are small Main street businesses, typically employing 10 to 50 employees.
” Small brewers represent only 4% of the entire U.S. beer market by volume, with 95% of them being very small businesses (producing 15,000 barrels or less per year).
We strongly oppose proposals to increase the excise tax on beer.
” Proposals to increase and equalize the tax among all types of alcohol will tax small brewers at the highest rates because our specialty, gourmet and innovative beers typically have higher alcohol contents.
” Brewers already pay a disproportionately higher share of taxes compared with other products – federal, state and local taxes represent over 40% of the retail price for beer while the same taxes equal nearly 24% of the price for all other purchases.
Higher taxes will worsen the economic recession – resulting in less competitive products, reduced sales and revenues, lost jobs and, for some small brewers, business closures.
” $1 per case excise tax increase will typically cost the consumer at least $1.69 due to successive mark-ups as the case moves from brewer to wholesaler to retailer.
Many small brewers are struggling to deal with the consequences of the 2008 spike in ingredient and operational costs.