For several years, craft distillers across the country have been fighting for the passage of federal legislation that would bring federal excise tax parity and reduction to this nation’s growing craft distillery movement. This April, we came close to getting an amendment included in the Federal Aviation Appropriations Bill that would accomplish this objective. While that amendment, the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, was discarded along with a slew of other tax-related amendments, the fight for this reformation continues.
Why is Federal Excise Tax parity and reduction important to craft distillers? Simply put, the proposal is to reduce the excise tax from $13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70 per proof gallon for the first 100,000 proof gallons produced at a distillery. As a craft distiller, we must pay $13.50 per proof gallon of the spirits we make. That is in addition to state excise taxes and any sales tax that consumers pay. By reducing the Federal Excise Tax to $2.70 per proof gallon, small distillers will be able to redirect monies that would have gone to the government to the purchasing of more equipment, upgrading facilities and employing more workers. The proposed reduction will be a major economic boost for this growing industry.
Why is a reduction in the Federal Excise Tax important to consumers? Well, of course all of the reasons set forth above will benefit local economies and help consumers indirectly. But there is also a direct impact on consumers. Much of what consumers pay for a bottle of spirits is comprised of federal and state tax. By reducing the Federal Excise Tax, consumers may see a reduction in price points for craft spirits!
Supporting proposed legislation to reduce the Federal Excise Tax for craft distillers will boost local economies, save consumer’s money and result in more spirits for us all to experience and enjoy. Please take a moment to reach out to your federal representatives and voice your support for this important tax reform.
You can contact your representatives through the links below.
Craft beverages are not just wonderful experiences and expressions of local, artisanal efforts, they have an important impact on the economy.
In a comprehensive 2013 study of the craft beer industry in New York State, Stonebridge Research Group LLC (click here for study) found that the craft beer industry alone had a $3.5 billion impact on New York’s economy. That impact included over 11,000 jobs generating $554 million in wages, $748 million in state and local tax revenue, and $450 million in tourism expenditures. A similar study (click here for study) conducted in California revealed that craft brewers had a $4.7 billion annual impact in that state. These are momentous figures, and it is expected that craft distilling will follow in craft brewing’s footsteps, generating jobs, tax revenue and tourism on a local, regional and state basis.
Like craft brewing and craft wineries, craft distilling in New York State is all about utilizing local resources to create amazing, artisanal products. The growing number of distillers in New York will steadily increase use of New York State grown grains and other produce. That means more money and productivity for our farmers.
We know, based on the experience of states like California and Oregon, as well as the craft breweries and wineries, that, as new craft distillers appear on the map, tourism is positively impacted. The experience of craft spirits is not just about going to the liquor store and picking up a local artisan’s product. Imbibers of craft spirits want to see where and how the spirits are made. They want to speak to the artisans and learn about the spirits. This desire to experience drives tourism.
The state of craft distilling in New York is healthy and headed to new heights. This is a thrilling time for distillers and consumers of spirits. Each time someone chooses to experience craft spirits, the economy of the State of New York and the locality is boosted a bit more. What a great and fun way to support our neighbors and fellow citizens.
Co-founder of Murray's Fools Distilling Co. | Altona. NY