Tester Discusses Bill to Cut Taxes, Boost Local Economies at Missoula Brewery

More than 80 small breweries across the state support over 2,700 jobs, produce more than six million gallons of beer each year

(Bonner, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester stopped by KettleHouse Brewing Co.’s Bonner Brewery on Saturday to have a beer and talk about his bill to cut taxes and reduce regulations on small brewers, distillers, and vintners.

Tester’s Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act will cut excise taxes on small brewers, distillers, and vintners, and speed up the process of getting labels approved by regulators, reducing the time it takes to get a product on the shelves.

“Montana’s brewers and distillers use local grain to make some of the best spirits in the world,” Tester said. “Easing excessive taxes and regulatory burdens will let brewers and distillers continue to grow and innovate, while strengthening our economy and creating jobs across the state.”

Tester met with KettleHouse owner Tim O’Leary, Montana Brewers Association Executive Director Matt Leow, and KettleHouse employees to discuss how the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act will benefit Montana breweries and the local economies they help support.

“This bill will give us the certainty we need to plan for our business’ growth,” O’Leary said. “We’ll use this money to reinvest in our business and our employees, and making this permanent will give us great confidence and allow us to keep growing well into the future.”

According to the Montana Brewers Association, there are more than 80 small breweries across the state that support over 2,700 jobs and produce more than six million gallons of beer each year. Montana breweries also purchase more than three million pounds of malt grain from Montana farmers and contribute over $400 million to the state’s economy each year.

“Montana’s craft brewing industry is an important economic engine in our state,” Leow said. “This bill, which prevents a tax hike on small breweries at the end of this year, will help Montana’s small, locally-owned breweries continue to grow, create jobs and strengthen Montana’s economy. We thank Senator Tester for his leadership and for supporting Montana’s craft brewers.”

Tester’s bill would cut excise taxes in half for small breweries on their first 60,000 barrels of annual production, and then lower the excise tax by two dollars for every barrel produced up to two million barrels. For small distillers, Tester’s bill would cut the excise tax from $13.40 to $2.70 per gallon for the first 100,000 gallons produced.

“I’m thankful to Senator Tester for his steadfast support of Montana’s craft brewing industry,” said Nolan Smith, owner of Philipsburg Brewing Company and President of the Montana Brewers Association. “With 84 breweries creating jobs and economic growth in 45 communities across our state, Montana craft beer is good for Montana’s economy.”

“High-quality malting barley is the engine that powers Montana’s thriving craft brewing and distilling industry,” said Lyle Benjamin, President of the Montana Grain Growers Association. “The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act will lead to more jobs in breweries and on farms, and allow them to reinvest in their businesses. We’re thankful Senator Tester is standing up for Montana’s grain growers and alcohol producers.”