The congressional fight over a proposed tax cut for small breweries is about to come to a frothy head. At the center of the debate is a bipartisan Senate proposal put forth by Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland that would cut a federal excise tax, but only for small breweries. Small breweries, they argue, produce American products and keep all their operations and jobs inside the country—something that, in the eyes of the senators, makes them more deserving of tax breaks than large, multinational breweries like MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Under current policy, brewers that produce less than 2 million barrels per year pay a tax of $7 per barrel up to 60,000 barrels and $18 per barrel for anything more. The proposed legislation will lower the minimum tax to $3.50 and the maximum to $16 for small breweries but preserve the $18-per-barrel tax for breweries that exceed 6 million barrels.
As expected, the bill is facing stout opposition from the big breweries, which have countered with a proposal of their own. But if the Collins/Cardin bill passes, you might find yourself paying a little less the next time you grab a sixer from your favorite local brewery. That seems like an idea both parties can get behind.
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