Baltimore, MD – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance and Small Business committees, toured the Heavy Seas Brewery in Baltimore, MD, today as part of his ‘Made in Maryland’ tour of companies that are supporting quality jobs for Marylanders. Senator Cardin’s history with Heavy Seas goes back to its first days as Clipper City Brewing Company, helping founder Hugh Sisson tap some of the first barrels in 1996. During his visit Friday, 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. He also met with local and small businesses to hear firsthand what steps they would like the Federal government to take that could help foster growth in their respective industries.
“Maryland craft brewers like Heavy Seas are transforming Maryland’s economy with innovative, quality products, the demand for which allows them to create more jobs and reinvest in their local communities,” said Senator Cardin. “At such an important time for America’s economic recovery, ‘Made in Maryland’ is my way to highlight the diverse products being produced in our great state and adding to the growth of our economy. 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.”
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.
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. 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 27 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.