Presidential impeachment aside, the U.S. Senate has its work cut out for it this week. Particularly important to craft beer lovers (as well as wine and spirits drinkers) is the extension of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) — legislation that lowers the excise tax rates for domestic brewers— an extension of which will have to be signed by the president before the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 20.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the extender package on Tuesday, Dec. 17. Should it pass in the Senate later this week, it will allow breweries and other beverage alcohol producers an additional year of the federal excise tax (FET) rates that were recalibrated in 2018.

The change in rates, which would continue through Dec. 31, 2020, are as follows: Brewers producing fewer than 2 million barrels of beer annually pay an excise tax rate of $3.50 per barrel, a reduction from $7 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels. Larger brewers and importers pay $16 per barrel on the first 6 million barrels; and those producing more than 6 million barrels annually pay $18 per barrel.

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CBMTRA originally passed into law as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017, after lobbying efforts of beverage alcohol trade groups, including the Brewers Association (BA), Beer Institute (BI), Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA), Wine America, the Wine Institute, and the U.S. Association of Cider Makers.

Should the Senate join the House in passing a CMBTRA extension, craft breweries will save tens of millions of dollars in taxes that they can apply to vital areas, including employee benefits and hiring, brewing equipment, and business planning. Failure to support the extension package could cost small breweries the $80 million they saved this year with the current FET rates. Which, in turn, would cost craft brewers the better business practices they’ve planned to implement — and that consumers are clamoring to see.

Allagash Surpasses 100K-Barrel Mark in 2019

Last Thursday, VinePair named Allagash River Trip best beer of 2019. Four days later, Allagash announced it will roll out cans of the Belgian-style session ale, along with its flagship Allagash White, through its distribution footprint in early 2020.

The Portland, Me.-based brewery also plans to launch 12-packs of Allagash White in select East Coast markets starting February 2020.

According to Allagash sales director Naomi Neville, releasing Allagash White and Allagash River Trip in cans fueled significant growth for the company in 2019, setting it on track to surpass 100,000 barrels of production in 2019.

“A huge chunk of our growth has come through cans this year,” Neville told Brewbound. “And we only had 16-ounce 4-packs of cans in two different brands, so it’s not like we started with a lot of different versions of cans.”

It’s great to see a beer we love fueling the growth of a brewery we love even more.

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