OFFICE OF SENATOR JOHN WALSH
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. John Walsh (D-MT) on May 30 sponsored legislation to reduce taxes for Montana brewers and distillers. The bipartisan BEER Act would halve the excise tax on all beer from $18 a barrel to $9 – approximately 2.5 cents per can, down from 5. Sen. Kirsten Gillbrand (D-NY) introduced the legislation on March 27.

The Small BREW Act is targeted specifically to lowering the excise tax for smaller brewers and would cut in half the excise tax on the first 60,000 barrels of beer produced by small brewers from $7 to $3.50, and it would give a $2 break to small breweries for every barrel they produce between 60,000 and 2 million.

“Montana’s industry of brewers and distillers contribute to our local economies, strengthen our state and create good-paying jobs,” Walsh said. “It’s our job to help them thrive.”

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) is a cosponsor of the BEER Act and the Small BREW Act.

With 46 breweries, and at least six more expected to open later this year, Montana has the third highest number of small breweries per capita in the U.S. In 2013, craft beer production increased 15 percent in the state. Brewers use more than 6 million pounds of malted grain, much of which is grown in Montana. The breweries employ more than 500 Montanans.

Montana is also home to a burgeoning distillery industry and Walsh cosponsored the Distillery Excise Tax Reform Act to reduce the excise rate for distilled spirits to $2.70 for the first 100,000 proof gallons produced. Every gallon above 100,000 would continue to be taxed at the rate under current law of $13.50 per proof gallon.

Montana currently has 16 distilleries in operation and they would all benefit from a reduction in the excise tax.

“Cutting taxes [that] brewers and distillers pay will reduce their overhead so they can return the investment in their businesses, grow their operation and add unbeatable Made in Montana products to shelves across the state and country,” Walsh said.