MTN News: Daines, Tester urge support for extending tax break for craft brewers and distillers

by Erik Olson

Montana U.S. Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester are among a bipartisan group of senators calling for the permanent renewal of a federal excise tax break for craft brewers and distilleries, a growing industry in Montana.

In a Tuesday letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, 57 senators urged passage of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform before it expires at the end of 2020.

The measure aims to extend the tax breaks for small brewers and distillers granted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the massive tax-reform plan backed by the Trump administration.

If the tax breaks aren’t extended, craft brewers would see their federal excise taxes double on their first 60,000 barrels produced. The bill touted by the 57 senators would also extend tax breaks for large breweries, wineries and distilleries.

Daines noted in a news release that craft beer and spirits producers support Montana’s agriculture and tourism industry. Allowing the tax break to expire is effectively a tax hike on businesses still fighting through economic hardships of the coronavirus pandemic, he added.

In 2019, Montana had 92 craft breweries that injected nearly $500 million into the state’s economy, according to the Brewers Association, an industry trade group.

President Trump signed a one-year extension of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform in December 2019.

Both the Republican Daines and Democrat Tester are co-sponsors of the bill.