Monday, April 4, 2011

Our Views on the BEER Act

A recent bipartisan bill in Congress known as the BEER Act has making headlines lately.  What it would do is significantly reduce the federal beer excise tax for small domestic brewers (less than 2 million barrels per year) and leave the normal rate untouched, essentially making the beer tax more progressive than it currently is.  While the small brewers currently get a somewhat reduced rate on the first 60,000 barrels, the bill would further reduce this rate as well as the rate on barrels up to 2 million, and only on those brewers who produce a total of 6 million barrels or less.  And this seems to be one of the few things that our increasingly divided Congress can agree upon.

Although we at Twenty-One Debunked have repeatedly called for significantly higher alcohol taxes (beer, wine, and distilled spirits) at both federal and state levels as part of our comprehensive plan to lower the drinking age to 18, we support the BEER Act since it is specific to small brewers (microbrewers).  We would never support a significant tax hike on microbrewers for three reasons:  1) they are far less able to absorb such a tax hike than larger brewers, 2) it would bring in very little revenue in practice relative to tax hikes on larger brewers, and 3) their products are already expensive enough, and are thus far less likely to be abused than their cheaper major brewer counterparts.  These small brewers contribute not just higher product quality, but numerous jobs for Americans that pay a decent wage.  So lets give them a shot in the arm, not a kick in the teeth.

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