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Legislation Will Allow Small Breweries To Fully Tap Their Business Potential

Beer Industry Supports Nearly 60,000 Jobs In NY Cutting Taxes On 65 Small Brewing Operations Will Allow Small Breweries Across New York State To Hire More Employees, Expand Their Business

Schumer: BEER Act Will Help Breweries Create Jobs, Revitalize Downtown Communities

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he is joining more than 20 bipartisan colleagues to introduce legislation that will cut the excise tax on small breweries in half, helping small brewers across New York reinvest in their business, hire new employees, and revitalize downtown communities. Currently, brewers pay a $7 excise tax for the first 60,000 barrels they brew per year. Under the BEER Act that Schumer will introduce, that rate is slashed to $3.50 per barrel, resulting in potential savings of $210,000 per year for the brewery. The bill also cuts the tax by $2 on the next 1,940,000 barrels produced, resulting in potential savings of $3,880,000 each year. This totals over $4 million in potential savings for these brewers. Allowing small breweries to reinvest in their companies is good for the surrounding communities, as many build stateoftheart structures or renovate existing buildings, preventing blight and creating goodpaying jobs.

"Small breweries throughout Upstate New York not only brew great beer, they also create great jobs," Schumer said. "By cutting taxes for these small businesses, we can help grow the economy and put more New Yorkers back to work in stable, goodpaying jobs. Breweries are the crown jewels of so many of our communities, and many of them have renovated charming old warehouses in downtowns across the state. Putting more money back into these businesses will be good for economic development, good for jobs, and good for New York."

Standing at Brown's Brewing Company, Schumer announced the legislation alongside brewery owner Garry Brown and brewery employees. Any brewery that produces fewer than 6 million barrels of beer per year is eligible for the tax cut that will allow brewers to reinvest in workers, new equipment and new space as they expand their business. According to the Brewers Association, this tax cut would have saved small brewing companies over $13 million nationwide in 2008. Microbreweries would have saved nearly $3 million, and brewpubs would have saved nearly $2 million just on the initial 60,000 barrel tax cut for that same year. When the tax break for the additional 1,940,000 barrels is factored in, small breweries throughout the country would have saved over $26 million in 2008, on top of the tax savings from the first 60,000 barrels produced. That represents nearly $40 million dollars in tax savings for an industry that employs New Yorkers throughout the state.

The legislation was introduced last Congress by Senator John Kerry (DMA), and earned 27 cosponsors and broad bipartisan support.

The approximately 650 small breweries across the country combine to employ nearly 100,000 American workers. In New York, the beer industry directly supports approximately 8,000 jobs through brewing and distribution, and nearly 60,000 jobs overall when retail sales are factored in. These jobs paid nearly $1.7 billion in wages in 2008, and accounted for almost $5 billion in economic activity. A Harvard study of the proposal predicts that passage of the proposal would increase economic activity in the small brewery sector by over $115 million in the first year, and by over $733 million over the first five years. Every dollar saved by cutting the excise tax would result in nearly $11 dollars in economic activity, providing an immediate and substantial boost to the economy. According to the study, the proposal would generate over 2,700 new jobs in the first year, and an additional 375 jobs per year for the next four years.

Brown's Brewing Company was founded by Garry Brown in 1993 and was the first brewpub in the Capital Region. Garry bought three buildings which were vacant and dilapidated, and renovated them into what is now Brown's Brewing Company. Brown's was and is a full service restaurant, bar and microbrewery. Brown's Brewing began wholesaling bottled beer for retail grocery and beverage center distribution in 2007, and this was the beginning of Brown's transformation into a full scale craft brewery. Brown's has grown into one of the busiest restaurants in the Capital Region, and its creation was instrumental to the revitalization of blighted downtown Troy's historic waterfront. Troy is now home to a vibrant restaurant and entertainment corridor. Brown's currently employs about 100 people, and continues to grow despite the tough economic landscape. Brown's has demonstrated continued annual restaurant sales growth, and continued wholesale beer business growth, producing approximately 3,500 US barrels of beer in 2010.