Rare are the days when politicians may bask in the well deserved plaudits of the people that put them in office. Yet, sometimes, the stars align just right—as they did December 1st—when Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Rob Portman, along with 57 additional members of the U.S. Senate(!) sent a letter to Senate leadership imploring hasty passage of CBMTRA, well we say, Cheers!
CBMTRA (to help raise your glass) of course stands for Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. In a bar-nutshell, the legislation would provide permanent Federal Excise Tax relief to the 2,000+ craft brewers and distillers that call this country home.
“Without congressional action by the end of 2020,” says Becky Harris, President, American Craft Spirits Association and Founder, Catoctin Creek Distilling (VA), “small distillers could face a 400% tax hike. We deeply appreciate and thank all the Senators that signed this important letter.”
(The idea that leaders need to be thanked for simply doing their job is another discussion.)
However, we, at Neat Pour, would like to join the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) in sounding a call to arms, or a call to Senators as it were. The bill, actually a renewal of expiring legislation, is essential to protect small distillers, vintners, and brewers.
Industry pains have been felt far and wide across the country with COVID closures, furloughs, lost revenue, diminished product, and the torture is ever mounting, with small brew/distill feeling the sting of the lash in particular. Without a CBMTRA extension, a tax hike is set to arrive at the toll of midnight on January 1, 2021.
The CBMTRA originally passed in 2017, with that rare unicorn of bipartisan support, as both houses voted overwhelmingly for a two-year reduction to the Federal Excise Tax burden placed upon craft spirits. President Trump signed the bill into law as part of the broader 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, and on January 1, 2018, the FET on craft distillers decreased from $13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70 per proof gallon on the first 100,000 proof gallons.
But as with all things Congress, easy not being their way, these protections are set to expire without further action.