Tester: Cut Taxes for Montana’s Breweries and Distilleries

Montana Producers Praise Bipartisan Bill During Small Business Week

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is sponsoring bipartisan legislation to cut taxes and create more jobs for Montana breweries and distilleries.

Tester’s bill, the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, will reduce excise taxes and regulation for brewers, distillers, and winemakers. Tester sponsored the job-creating bill in conjunction with National Small Business Week.

“Congress must cut taxes for Montana brewers and distillers so they can continue to grow and hire more folks in every corner of our state,” Tester said. “These small businesses use Montana grain to make world-class beer and booze, and by cutting regulations and reducing taxes these made-in-Montana businesses can continue to support our state’s economy.”

Tester’s bill cuts excise taxes in half for small breweries on their first 60,000 barrels of annual production, and then lowers the excise tax by two dollars for every barrel produced up to two million barrels.

For small distillers, Tester’s bill cuts the excise tax from $13.40 to $2.70 per gallon for the first 100,000 gallons produced.

Tester’s Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (S. 236) also simplifies the labeling approval process, which will help reduce costs and speed up the time it takes to get beer, wine or spirits to market.

Montana brewers and distillers are praising Tester’s bill.

“Headframe Spirits stands in enthusiastic support of the Senate Bill 236, Craft Spirits Modernization Act,” said Courtney McKee, Owner of Headframe Spirits in Butte. “We look forward to the tax parity it creates between small and large distilleries–the same parity that already exists for breweries and wineries. To our minds, this is a jobs bill. S. 236 would have saved Headframe Spirits enough last year to put two more full-time employees, with benefits, on the payroll. We look forward to S. 236 passing so that we can create those new jobs.”

“I sure appreciate all the work that Senator Tester has done for our brewery, cider mill, and the craft beer industry,” said Sam Hoffmann, President of Red Lodge Ales. “Reducing our excise tax burden will help us grow into the future. It has been a pleasure getting to know Senator Tester and showing him our facilities over the years.”

“As craft beer continues to grow in Montana, and throughout the entire United States, it’s comforting to know our leaders in Washington, especially Senator Tester, are driving change to restrictive tax, compliance and regulation policies by supporting the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act,” said Marcus Duffey, General Manager of Great Northern Brewing Company in Whitefish.

“Montana’s craft brewing industry is an important economic driver for our state, responsible for more than 1,000 jobs and more than $100 million in economic output annually, but small brewers face greater economic challenges and lack the economies of scale that benefit our well-established multinational competitors,” said Matt Leow, Executive Director of the Montana Brewers Association. “This legislation provides much needed relief for Montana’s small, locally owned breweries, helping our industry to continue growing, creating jobs and providing economic benefits across Montana. The Montana Brewers Association thanks Sen. Tester for his leadership and for his steadfast support for Montana’s craft brewers.”

“On behalf of the Montana Brewers Association and all of Montana’s craft brewers we appreciate the support from Senator Tester in introducing this important bill,” said Nolan Smith, Owner of Philipsburg Brewing Company and President of the Montana Brewers Association. “All Montana breweries large and small will benefit from this legislation and allow us all to grow and be more competitive in regional markets.”

According to the Montana Brewers Association, there are over 50 small breweries across Montana, that employ more than 1,000 employees and produce over four million gallons of beer annually. Montana breweries purchase more than three million pounds of malt grain from Montana farmers and contribute more than $100 million annually to the state’s economy each year.