Frederick, MD – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance and Small Business committees, toured the Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, MD today as part of his ‘Made in Maryland’ tour of companies that are supporting quality jobs for Marylanders. Senator Cardin used the opportunity to discuss his legislation, the Small BREW Act (S. 917) which is designed to support the growth of small and independent breweries. Maryland is home to 29 craft brewers, with at least 24 more in the planning stages. The industry supports over $13 million in wages paid in Maryland and contributes $95 million to our state’s economy.
“Maryland craft brewers like Flying Dog have become anchors of their communities. With quality and innovative products, they are creating jobs and reinvesting in their local communities. ‘Made in Maryland’ is my way to highlight the diverse products being produced in our great state,” said Senator Cardin. “I believe that the Federal government needs to be investing in industries that invest in America and create real jobs here at home. With more than 2,400 small and independent breweries currently operating in the US, now is the time to take meaningful action to help them continue to grow.”
Flying Dog is one of Maryland’s largest brewery, producing more than 85,000 barrels annually and storing 2 million bottles in inventory. Overall sales in 2011 were up 25 percent over 2010 and 60 percent in the Mid-Atlantic. Flying Dog currently distributes to 33 states, with a focus on the Mid-Atlantic region.
The Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act) aims to reduce the excise tax on each barrel of beer (one barrel is 31 gallons) brewed by qualified brewers. Under current law, brewers generally pay an $18 excise tax on each barrel brewed. Small brewers, currently defined as those that brew fewer than 2 million barrels of beer a year, pay a reduced excise tax of $7 per barrel for the first 60,000 barrels of beer they brew each year. The Cardin bill, which Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and 26 other Senators from both parties have co-sponsored, would reduce the excise tax applicable to brewers producing up to 6 million barrels per year to just $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels and $16 on additional barrels below 2 million per year.
An economic impact study by Dr. John Friedman at Harvard University found that the bill would generate $183.1 million in economic activity in the first year and almost $1.04 billion over five years and would also create nearly 5,230 jobs in just the first year. The small brewer threshold and tax rate were established in 1976 and have never been updated.