07.03.18

SCHUMER VISITS BREWERY OMMEGANG TO PUSH FOR A PLAN TO HELP BOLSTER FAST-GROWING CRAFT BREW INDUSTRY IN OTSEGO COUNTY AND THE SOUTHERN TIER: LEGISLATION TO PERMANENTLY CUT SMALL BREWERIES EXCISE TAX IN ½ AND INCREASED FEDERAL RESOURCES TO FAST TRACK RELEASE OF SEASONAL AND SPECIALTY BEER

Standing At Brewery Ommegang Schumer Unveils Push To Support Legislation That Will Enable Them, And Small Otsego County Breweries Like Red Shed Brewery, Butternuts Beer And Ale, And Council Rock Brewery, To Fully Tap Their Business Potential

New York State Craft Beer Industry Supports Nearly 60,000 Jobs In NY & Has A $4 Billion Economic Impact– Cutting Taxes On Dozens Of Small Brewing Operations In The Southern Tier Will Allow Small Breweries To Hire More Employees, Buy More Equipment, Boost Marketing Efforts & More

Schumer: Craft Beverage Modernization And Tax Reform Act Could Help Southern Tier Craft Grow

Today, at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he is joining a bipartisan effort to fight for legislation that will cut the excise tax on small breweries in half, helping small brewers in Otsego County reinvest in their business, hire new employees, and revitalize communities. The Southern Tier area has seen a rise in the craft brewing industry in recent years, and Schumer’s effort aims to bolster that. Tax cuts for small brewers like Ommegang expire in 2019, but under the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA), brewers would permanently pay $3.50 instead of $7 per barrel, resulting in potential savings of $210,000 per year for that brewery. Schumer unveiled details of how his legislation could benefit the growing number of craft breweries in the Southern Tier. For example, Ommegang produces 40,000 barrels of beer annually. Ommegang employs 103 individuals. Under the CBMTRA, based on current production, the brewery would save over $160,000 at its Cooperstown brewery and over $1.5M per year across its sister breweries in excise taxes. These savings could be reinvested straight back into the company in the form of new hires or expanded business.  In addition, Schumer pushed for funding needed by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to hire additional federal inspectors to review and approve now-delayed permit applications needed by breweries, wineries, and distilleries to expand and sell their products. Schumer explained that TTB staff levels are back to 2007 levels with about 500 employees, while TTB label approvals have increased 20 percent from 2013 to 2016 and increased 6 percent last year.

“Small breweries throughout the Southern Tier, like Brewery Ommegang, not only brew great beer, they also pour jobs into the community,” said Senator Schumer. “By cutting taxes for breweries and increasing the number of federal inspectors to approve basic things like new beer labels, we can help breweries like Brewery Ommegang buy new equipment, hire more employees, and truly allow them capitalize on the growing craft beer culture in the Southern Tier.  I have always said breweries are the crown jewels of so many of our communities, and many of them bring an added benefit by reinvesting into their local communities, just like Brewery Ommegang did with their new visitor center. So by putting more money back into these businesses and making sure they are not choked off by bureaucratic red tape and delays, breweries like Brewery Ommegang can really begin to tap into their full potential.”

Schumer joined Doug Campbell, President of Brewery Ommegang, Gary Koutnik, Vice-Chair of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, Barbara Ann Heegan, President and CEO of the Otsego Chamber of Commerce, Jody Zakrevsky, CEO of Otsego Now, and Ellen Tillapaugh, Mayor of Cooperstown.

“Senator Schumer has always been a big supporter of the craft beverage industry in New York State. It’s amazing to us, with so much on his plate on a national level, that he still finds the time to champion important legislation that helps so many small manufacturers in our state. The continuation of the federal excise tax cut beyond 2019 will only add more jobs in craft beer and his support is critical in making that happen. We gratefully appreciate his continued and unwavering support,” said Paul Leone, Executive Director of the New York State Brewers.

“As a small business in a highly-regulated industry, issues of tax and regulatory competence loom large for breweries like us.  Excise tax relief levels the playing field relative to large corporate brewers who enjoy economics of scale, enabling us to invest more in our facilities and our people.  In this category, regulatory speed and accuracy is a critical enabler of the rapid-fire innovation that has put a lot of smaller, high-end breweries like us on the map,” said Doug Campbell, President of Brewery Ommegang.

Senator Schumer joined Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and colleagues on both sides of the aisle in support of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA).

The approximately 2,400 small and independent breweries across the country combine to generate more than $3 billion in wages and benefits, and pay more than $2.3 billion in taxes annually. 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 $2.1 billion in wages in 2010, and accounted for at least $4 billion in economic activity.

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