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.
The Small BREW Act would create a new excise tax rate structure that helps small breweries. The rate for the smallest breweries would be $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels. For production between 60,001 and 2 million barrels, the rate would be $16 per barrel. After that, the rate would be $18 per barrel. Breweries that produce less than 6 million barrels a year would qualify for the new tax rates.
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 KindJunior Dems plot strategy as leadership vote looms Ryan: Pacific deal can't be fixed in time for lame-duck vote House Democrat expects support to grow for Pacific trade deal MORE (D-Wis.) introduced the BEER Act in the House on Thursday.
Sens. Tammy BaldwinTammy BaldwinSenate Dems offer bill to curb tax break for Trump nominees Fight over water bill heats up in Senate Overnight Finance: Funding bill expected tonight | Trump takes on Boeing | House rejects push for IRS impeachment vote | Dow hits new high MORE (D-Wis.), Mark BegichMark BegichThe future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map Trump campaign left out of Alaska voter guide MORE (D-Alaska), Thad CochranThad CochranGOP senators voice misgivings about short-term spending bill Trump's wrong to pick Bannon or Sessions for anything Bottom Line MORE (R-Miss.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsThe Hill's 12:30 Report The Hill's 12:30 Report Trump gets chance to remake the courts MORE (D-Del.), Mo Cowan (D-Mass.), Bob MenendezRobert MenendezThe right person for State Department is Rudy Giuliani Warren, Menendez question shakeup at Wells Fargo Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal MORE (D-N.J.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Energy: Fight over miners' benefits risks shutdown | Flint aid crosses finish line in House Senate sends annual defense bill to Obama's desk Dem senator: Trump’s EPA pick is ‘corruption’ MORE (D-Ore.), Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiBudowsky: Did Putin elect Trump? This Week in Cybersecurity: Dems press for information on Russian hacks Overnight Cybersecurity: Last-ditch effort to stop expanded hacking powers fails MORE (D-Md.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders on Trump pick: This is how a rigged economy works Trump picks Goldman Sachs chief for top economic adviser: report Sanders congratulates Carrier union leader after Trump attack MORE (I-Vt.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSenate Dems hold out on spending deal, risking shutdown Dems see ’18 upside in ObamaCare repeal Confirm Gary Richard Brown for the Eastern District of New York MORE (D-N.Y.), Jon TesterJon TesterDem senator to introduce 'drain the swamp' bill Red-state Dems face tough votes on Trump picks Montana Republican warns of Senate challenge to Tester MORE (D-Mont.), Roger WickerRoger WickerFCC chairman willing to resign to get colleague confirmed GOP eager to see Harry Reid go Senate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules MORE (R-Miss.), Ron WydenRon WydenSenate sends annual defense bill to Obama's desk Senate fight over miners' heathcare boils over Budowsky: Did Putin elect Trump? MORE (D-Ore.), Rob PortmanRob PortmanSenators to Trump: Get tough on Russia over Ukraine John Glenn dies at 95 John Glenn hospitalized MORE (R-Ohio), Angus KingAngus KingBudowsky: Did Putin elect Trump? This Week in Cybersecurity: Dems press for information on Russian hacks Angus King: Trump's not draining swamp, he's adding alligators MORE (I-Maine) and Tom CarperTom CarperWhy Trump picked a retired general for Homeland Security Dems, greens gear up for fight against Trump EPA pick The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Del.) are co-sponsoring the Small BREW Act.