Small beer brewers throughout the state pay a $7 excise tax just for the privilege of hopefully being able to sell the beer. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal supports legislation that would drop the tax to $3.50 for the first 60,000 barrels brewed.
The aptly named Brewer's Employment and Excise Tax Relief (BEER) Act was introduced by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) in March 2011 but still has not been voted on.
Blumenthal believes that the two-page bill would help Connecticut’s craft beer industry thrive.
"The future of Connecticut is about growing small businesses like the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company that make a Connecticut product and hire Connecticut workers,” said Blumenthal in a statement. “The proposal gives Connecticut's exploding craft beer industry a leg up by cutting in half a painful and outdated tax, bringing economic activity and new visitors to the state."
The bill would also benefit larger breweries by lowering the excise tax from $18 to $16 on barrels beyond the first 60,000.
Blumenthal toured the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company in Bloomfield, Conn.
Curt Cameron, President of Thomas Hooker Brewing Company, the bill would save the brewery approximately $40,000-$50,000 per year in federal excise taxes.
“Most small breweries pay this tax quarterly and I can tell you it can certainly be a painful tax to pay at the end of the quarter," Cameron said in a statement.