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Craft Brewing and Distilling News for February 5, 2015

February 5, 2015

•Following its introduction in the U.S. House of Representatives in mid-January, the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (Small BREW Act) companion bill has been reintroduced in the U.S. Senate. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland and Senator Susan Collins of Maine filed S. 375, which seeks to recalibrate the federal excise tax small brewers pay on what they brew (a small brewer is defined as one producing less than 6 million barrels a year). A similar bill was introduced in 2013 and received support from 47 Republican and Democratic senators. As it stands now, brewers of fewer than 2 million barrels annually pay $7 a barrel on the first 60,000 barrels produced and $18 a barrel thereafter. The Small BREW Act seeks a new rate structure of $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 a barrel would still apply. Co-sponsors of the Senate bill include Senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Mark Kirk of Illinois, among others.

•California-based Coronado Brewing is entering the Illinois market, effective March 2. Coronado’s core series—including Islander IPA, Orange Avenue Wit and Mermaid’s Red—will launch in Illinois, as will seasonal Crown Series beers like Skull Wrapper, Senor Saison and Anniversary Ale. Wirtz Beverage Illinois will be handling the craft brewer’s distribution throughout the state. Coronado’s distribution footprint now spans 21 states.

•San Jose, California’s Gordon Biersch Brewing Company is launching its popular spring seasonal, Maibock, beginning this month. The malty, German-style lager is flavored with dark roasted Caramel malt and Hallertau hops and comes in at 7.3% abv. Similar to other beers from Gordon Biersch, Maibock is brewed according to Germany’s purity law from 1516 that stipulates the use of only water, malt, hops and yeast in brewing. Maibock is available February through April, with six-packs retailing for about $8.99-$9.99. Other seasonals from the company include SommerBrau, FestBier and Winterbock. Gordon Biersch Brewing has an annual production capacity of 4 million gallons (1.8 million 2.25-gallon cases).

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