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Craft Brewing and Distilling News for January 13, 2015

January 13, 2015

•Representatives Erik Paulsen of Minnesota and Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts have reintroduced the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (Small BREW Act) to the U.S. House of Representatives for the 114th Congress. The bipartisan bill seeks to amend the federal beer excise tax that small brewers—those with annual production of 6 million barrels or less—pay on each barrel of beer produced. Currently, brewers of less than 2 million barrels a year pay $7 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels produced and $18 per barrel thereafter. The Small BREW Act proposes a new rate structure: $3.50 a barrel on the first 60,000 barrels and $16 thereafter up to 2 million barrels. Over 2 million barrels, the current federal excise tax rate of $18 per barrel would still apply. An earlier version of the bill was introduced in 2013 and received 182 Republican and Democratic supporters in the 113th Congress. A companion bill from the Senate is expected to be introduced soon.

•Escondido, California-based Stone Brewing Co. has re-released its limited edition Baird / Ishii / Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA. A collaborative offering created in partnership with Guam’s Ishii Brewing Co. and Japan’s Baird Brewing Co., Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA was originally brewed after the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, with the beer’s proceeds helping to fund recovery efforts. The latest iteration is made according to the original recipe—which includes five different hops and Japanese sencha green tea—but due to brewing and fermentation improvements, features a slightly higher abv of 10.1%. Rolling out this week, Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA will be available across 42 U.S. markets in limited 22-ounce bottles and on draft.

•Paso Robles, California’s Firestone Walker Brewing Company is bringing back its barrel-aged barleywine Sucaba as part of the debut of its 2015 Proprietor’s Vintage Series. Sucaba is a blend of two separate barrel-aged beers: one is the base beer and the other is an undisclosed component beer that makes up 10% of the final blend and is said to add chocolate and dark cherry notes. The 13.5%-abv offering is brewed with Pale Ale, Maris Otter, Munich, Dark and Light Crystal and Chocolate malts and barrel-aged for one year on average in ex-Bourbon barrels. The company is planning to release 3,500 cases of 22-ounce bottles of Sucaba to select markets at the retail price of about $16.99 a bottle.

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