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Cardin coming to Heavy Seas to push bill for small brewers

July 18, 2013

942933_10151691574253970_1489835373_nSenator Ben Cardin (pictured during a visit to the Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, MD) will visit the Heavy Seas brewery in Halethorpe tomorrow to tour the expanding facilities and answer questions about the Small BREW Act (The Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act), a bipartisan bill he and Maine Senator Susan Collins introduced to Congress in May.

Currently, brewers pay an excise tax of $18 per barrel. Small breweries, or those who brew less than 2 million barrels of beer a year, pay $7 a barrel. Under the Small BREW Act, the excise tax rate on each barrel of beer would be reduced from $7 to $3.50 for first 60,000 barrels; after 60,000 barrels and up to 2 million barrels, the excise rate would be $16 per barrel. For breweries making over 6 million barrels of beer, the change in taxation would not apply at all. In 2012, Heavy Seas sold 33,000 barrels of beer (or 10,912,000 12-ounce bottles of beer). By contrast, Sam Adams aka Boston Beer Company’s barrelage per year is 2.1 million.

With Union Craft Brewing celebrating its first anniversary next weekend, the recent addition of Peabody Heights Brewery to the city’s brewing scene, and at least two breweries as close as Columbia with plans to open in 2014, the bill would be an economic boon to these new businesses. According to Cardin’s website, there are 24 Maryland craft breweries in the planning stages.