WASHINGTON — A legislator from Ohio was among five legislators recently presented with the Brewers Association’s Legislative Champion Award.
Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman was recognized for his “leadership, dedication and support of small and independent craft brewers,” according to the Brewers Association. The award was presented by Bob Pease, BA president and CEO, and Larry Horwitz, partner and brewmaster of Four String Brewing in Columbus.
According to BA, Portman wrote and supported an amendment to the tax bill that resulted in the language from the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, which recalibrates the federal excise tax for breweries and other alcohol producers, being passed for a two-year period. More than half of Congress supported the bipartisan CBMTRA, with 56 Senate co-sponsors of the Senate bill (S.236) and 303 representatives co-sponsoring the House version (H.R. 747) of the bill. Because of Portman’s efforts, the BA stated, small brewers across the country can reinvest in their businesses, employees and communities.
“The effort to bring meaningful federal excise tax relief to small brewers has been a decade-long initiative for the Brewers Association,” said Pease. “We could have not achieved it without the leadership, passion and forward thinking of legislators like Sen. Portman. He understands the positive impacts small and independent brewers have on their local communities and our national economy. The tax relief for our brewers is palpable and we look forward to working with him to make the two-year provision permanent.”
Ohio is home to 225 craft breweries, according to the Brewers Association. The industry supports more than 15,700 workers and contributed $2.6 billion to the economy in 2016. According to a recent excise tax recalibration survey conducted by the association, breweries are utilizing their federal excise tax savings in a tangible way.
“Ninety-six percent of breweries responding to the survey found the lower federal excise tax beneficial to their brewery,” said Bart Watson, BA chief economist. “More specifically, 70 percent indicated they would be increasing their economic development by purchasing new equipment, upgrading their tasting rooms and breweries, or moving to new buildings. In addition, more than half of respondents indicated they would be hiring new employees.”
Also receiving the Legislative Champion Award were Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.). The four were the original sponsors of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act bills in their respective chambers of Congress.