Currently, brewers producing less than 2 million barrels a year pay an excise tax of $7 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels they brew, and $18 per barrel on every barrel thereafter.
Cardin said he was introducing the bill now because next week is American Craft Beer Week.
The bill would cost the federal government more than $30 million a year in lost revenue, but Cardin said the government would make it up in new payroll taxes and taxes from people buying more craft beer since prices could go down. Cardin argued that his bill would help stimulate the economy by creating more jobs.
"While some people may think this is a bill about beer, it is really about jobs," Cardin said. "Small brewers are small business owners in communities in each and every state across the country. … As the craft beer industry grows so, too, does the demand for American-grown barley and hops and American-made brewing, bottling, canning and other equipment."
Cardin said there are more than 2,000 small breweries within the United States, and he called for the government to invest in the growing industry in order to help the economy.
"Because of differences in economies of scale, small brewers have higher costs for raw materials, production, packaging and market entry compared to larger, well-established multi-national competitors," Cardin said. "Adjusting the excise tax rate would provide small brewers with an additional $67 million each year they could use to start or expand their businesses on a regional or national scale."
But S. 917 isn’t the only beer bill being considered. Large beer manufacturers are pushing their own bill, the BEER Act, which would reduce rates for all brewers. Reps. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) and Ron KindRon KindRyan: Pacific deal can't be fixed in time for lame-duck vote House Democrat expects support to grow for Pacific trade deal Hatch: TPP deal can get done in lame-duck session MORE (D-Wis.) introduced the BEER Act in the House on Thursday.
Sens. Tammy BaldwinTammy BaldwinAnti-trade senators say chamber would be crazy to pass TPP Dem senator: Dean's speculation about Trump cocaine use not 'useful' EpiPen investigation shows need for greater pricing transparency, other reforms MORE (D-Wis.), Mark BegichMark BegichRyan's victory trumps justice reform opponents There is great responsibility being in the minority Senate GOP deeply concerned over Trump effect MORE (D-Alaska), Thad CochranThad CochranMomentum builds for Clyburn poverty plan 'Hardball' Pentagon memo creates firestorm Insiders dominate year of the outsider MORE (R-Miss.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsElection-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Overnight Healthcare: McConnell unveils new Zika package | Manchin defends daughter on EpiPens | Bill includes M for opioid crisis Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare MORE (D-Del.), Mo Cowan (D-Mass.), Bob MenendezRobert MenendezDemocrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal Dem senator: Louisiana Republican 'found Jesus' on flood funding Taiwan and ICAO: this is the time MORE (D-N.J.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Finance: Lawmakers float criminal charges for Wells Fargo chief | Scrutiny on Trump's Cuba dealings | Ryan warns of recession if no tax reform Anti-trade senators say chamber would be crazy to pass TPP Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal MORE (D-Ore.), Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiSenate Dems: Add Flint aid to spending deal This week: Shutdown deadline looms over Congress Week ahead: Key court date for climate rule; Fight over Flint aid MORE (D-Md.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersWhat will be October’s surprise? Poll: Half of Trump supporters don't trust integrity of election War over the estate tax returns MORE (I-Vt.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerElection-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal 78 lawmakers vote to sustain Obama veto MORE (D-N.Y.), Jon TesterJon TesterElection-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal Overnight Finance: Senate rejects funding bill as shutdown looms | Labor Dept. to probe Wells Fargo | Fed to ease stress test rules for small banks MORE (D-Mont.), Roger WickerRoger WickerTo protect taxpayers, the Hyde Amendment must be permanent GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase GOP to Obama: Sanction Chinese entities to get to North Korea MORE (R-Miss.), Ron WydenRon WydenOvernight Healthcare: Watchdog says ObamaCare program made illegal payments Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Overnight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security MORE (D-Ore.), Rob PortmanRob PortmanOvernight Healthcare: Watchdog says ObamaCare program made illegal payments Portman ad features father of fallen Iraq soldier Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables MORE (R-Ohio), Angus KingAngus KingWells CEO Stumpf resigns from Fed advisory panel Pentagon chief: 9/11 bill could be used against US troops GOP chairman: White House ‘running rogue’ on water rule MORE (I-Maine) and Tom CarperTom CarperElection-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Overnight Healthcare: McConnell unveils new Zika package | Manchin defends daughter on EpiPens | Bill includes M for opioid crisis Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare MORE (D-Del.) are co-sponsoring the Small BREW Act.