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This morning Charleston attorney and S.C. Brewers Guild volunteer director Brook Bristow is in Washington D.C. advocating for this state’s brewers, distillers, and vintners. According to a press release from the Guild, Bristow will meet with members of South Carolina’s Congressional delegation to lobby for lower excise taxes.
His main focus is the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. If passed, the act would reduce the amount of taxes paid by small brewers on every barrel of beer they produce. How big of a deal is that you ask? CP‘s beer editor-at-large Timmons Pettigrew breaks it down for us:
“Working on lowering excise taxes is a big deal federally, but also in S.C.,” says Pettigrew. “The federal tax breaks down like this: The first 60,000 U.S. barrels are taxed at $7/barrel — that’s $7 per 31 gallons, or $0.03 per pint. When you expand production past 60,000 barrels you get penalized, basically, and now you’re paying $0.08/pint.”
Pettigrew adds that South Carolina has one of the highest rates at $0.77 per gallon (which means $23.87/U.S. barrel, or $0.10/pint).
“So forget labor, raw ingredients, real estate, utilities, equipment, upkeep, sales tax, regular business tax, etc. — the Feds and the state are taking somewhere between $0.13 and $0.18 per pint of beer these breweries make. If a pint is $5, and profit margins are thin, that’s a significant chunk. We should be incentivizing brewery growth nationally, and attracting breweries to open in this state,” Pettigrew says.
“Opening a brewery is the new American dream and the quintessential American success story,” says Bristow. “Day in and day out, South Carolina brewers are creating jobs, as well as innovative products that are transforming communities through economic development. Our federal tax code needs to innovate just as our brewers have.”
Bristow also expects to discuss Congressional Small Brewer Caucus recruitment and will invite members and staff to visit small breweries in South Carolina.