U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware

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Brewing up local jobs

Fordham Brewery

DOVER – Fordham Brewing Company in Dover had a lot on tap this week, including a visit by two U.S. Senators interested in learning what they can do to help the brewery grow and create local jobs.  Senators Coons and Carper were given a first-hand look at the brewing operations by CEO and President Jim Lutz and by Brew Master Walter Trifari.  Chris was intrigued by the complexity of the brewing process and was impressed by the skillset of those working at the brewery.  While there, Chris focused on what he can do to help small businesses like Fordham succeed, even in tough economic times.

“We must continue to focus on creating and maintaining jobs like the ones here at Fordham,” Chris said.  “This nation’s economic recovery is directly tied to the success of small businesses, and we need to continue to do whatever we can to support their growth.”

In 2007, Fordham merged with Old Dominion Brewing Company.  In 2009, the company moved Old Dominion from Virginia to Delaware.  The company is finding success in Kent County and plans to add two or three additional employees this year to its 28-person team—that’s up from 23 in 2010.  Last year, Fordham produced 24,000 barrels, with each barrel yielding two kegs.  Lutz said the company’s proximity to major cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington draws people from all over. 

Last year, in an effort to help small breweries, including Fordham and five others in Delaware, Chris co-sponsored the Brewer’s Employment and Excise Relief Act which redefines what it means to be a “small” brewery to one that produces up to six million barrels per year (up from two million barrels). It then reduces the federal excise tax on “small” brewers. For the first 60,000 barrels each year the tax is reduced from $7 per barrel to $3.50 per barrel and for barrels 60,001 through 2 million, the tax is reduced from $18 per barrel to $16 per barrel.

“The Brewer’s Employment and Excise Relief Act helps level the playing field for small breweries and makes it easier for them to grow at what is a critical stage in their development,” Chris said. 

This legislation was introduced early in 2011 by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.). It was cosponsored by Senator Coons and a bipartisan array of 34 additional senators, including — locally — Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.).

Click here to learn more about Chris’ work for Delaware businesses.

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