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Congressman Richard E. Neal and Samuel Adams Founder Jim Koch Promote Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act By Visiting Great Barrington Brewery

January 23, 2013
Press Release
Neal to Tour Barrington Brewery and Restaurant and Meet with Small Brewers
(SPRINGFIELD) Congressman Richard E. Neal and Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch will tour Barrington Brewery and Restaurant - at 420 Stockbridge Road in Great Barrington - on Thursday at 2pm to promote the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act. Neal plans to introduce this bipartisan bill with co-author Jim Gerlach (R-PA) in February.
"As we know, small business is the lifeblood of our local economy and the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act will have a direct impact on western Massachusetts," said Neal, referring to breweries in western Massachusetts communities including Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Millers Falls, Pittsfield, Northampton, Southampton and Amherst. "When we help small businesses we know they are going to hire local residents who will in turn spend money back in the local economy."

There are 2,300 small and independent craft brewers across the country.  Although the average small business employs between 10 and 50 workers, this job-creating industry employs over 100,000 full-time and part-time workers and generates more than $3 billion in wages and benefits a year. 

“Congressman Neal understands that job creation is best done by small business," said Gary Happ of Barrington Brewery and Restaurant. "His tenacity in making sure that the Barrington Brewery has a chance to compete in an industry dominated by 'the big guys' gives folks like us a chance to brew and sell a quality product.  That chance is all we ask as we believe in our craft, our products and the potential for us to put more people to work."

Established in 1976, the tax rate for small brewers has not kept pace with the economic realities between small and large brewers in the United States.  Under current law, a small brewer that produces less than 2 million barrels of per year pays $7.00 per barrel on its first 60,000 barrels produced per year.  If production exceeds 60,000 barrels, the per barrel tax is $18.00, which is the same amount that the two largest brewers pay on their production of more than 160 million barrels. 

Although small brewers only produce 6% of the beer sold nationwide, these independent businesses have made key investments in our communities across America.  To support these small businesses and help spur Main Street job growth, America’s small brewers need a recalibration of the excise tax that is more in line with today’s realities.   

The proposed Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act would create a graduated beer excise tax rate of $3.50 and $16.00 for small brewers and raise the ceiling to qualify for the small brewer rates from two million barrels to six million barrels.

These modifications are minor.  However,  an economic impact study by Dr. John Friedman, an economist at Harvard University, estimates that over five years the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act would generate nearly 4,400 jobs in the first year with an average of 300 jobs in each subsequent year over five years.   In addition, the study estimates that the bill would generate roughly $153 million in economic activity in the first year and approximately $865 million over five years.   

According to the Massachusetts Brewers Guild, there are 33 craft breweries in the Commonwealth, employing 1333 people. By 2013, the number of craft breweries is expected to reach 43. Total annual revenues from small brewers in Massachusetts is $535 million, while the barrelage is 386,662 pounds. In addition, excise tax paid from Massachusetts brewers is $1.275 million.

Along with Koch, fellow brewers attending will be Sergio Bonavita of Westfied River Brewing, Jeremy Goldberg of Cape Ann Brewing, Andrew Mankin of Barrington Brewery,  Kelly McKnight ofWatch City Brewery, Tyler Guilmette of Brewmaster Jack's, Chris Post of Wandering Star, Gary Bogoff of Berkshire Brewing and Rob Martin of Ipswich.