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Craft Brewing and Distilling News for February 6, 2015

February 6, 2015

•The Brewers Association-backed Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (Small BREW Act), recently introduced in Congress, is facing competition from an alternative excise tax bill, the Fair Brewers Excise and Economic Relief Act of 2015 (Fair BEER Act). Supported by the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA), U.S. Representatives Steve Womack of Arkansas and Rod Kind of Wisconsin have introduced the Fair BEER Act, which seeks to change how brewers are taxed based on a rising scales of barrels produced. The Fair BEER Act proposes no federal excise tax on the first 7,143 barrels—which the TTB defines as a “small brewer”—$3.50 each on barrels 7,144 to 60,000, $16 each on barrels 60,000 to 2 million and $18 for every barrel above 2 million. The proposals under the Fair BEER Act would pertain to brewers of all sizes; the Small BREW Act, by contrast, is focused on reducing tax rates for brewers of fewer than 6 million barrels a year.

•New York-based Blackheath Beverage Group has added Portland, Oregon’s Eastside Distilling to its portfolio. Blackheath will now begin a nationwide rollout of Eastside Distilling’s craft spirits stable, which includes Burnside Bourbon, Below Deck rum, Portland Potato vodka, Cherry Bomb whiskey and Oregon Marionberry whiskey. To support the launch, Eastside Distilling has embarked on construction of a new, 41,000-square-foot production facility that is slated to be operational by the second quarter of this year and will grow Eastside’s annual capacity from its current 6,400 cases to around 1 million cases.

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