U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 16, 2013
CONTACT: Ian Koski at 202-224-4216

Delaware craft brewer briefs senators on importance of industry to the economy

President and CEO of Coastal Brewing Company joins senators in conversation on small brewers’ role in job creation as well as federal excise tax impacting the industry

WASHINGTON – Jim Lutz, president and CEO of Coastal Brewing Company in Dover, joined U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) for a roundtable discussion in the Capitol on Thursday on ideas for helping small breweries expand and create jobs. The meeting, which featured leaders from 14 small breweries around the country, was hosted by the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee to mark American Craft Beer Week.

With the Senate working on a solution that reduces the excise tax on each barrel of beer brewed by small brewers — the Small BREW Act — today’s discussion was critical to the Senate’s efforts to hear insights from business leaders in the craft beer industry. Industry growth in 2013 was up 15 percent by volume and 17 percent by dollars compared to growth in 2011 of 13 percent by volume and 15 percent by dollars. Craft brewers are credited with sales of an estimated $10.2 billion in 2012, up from $8.7 billion in 2011. Craft brewers currently employ more than 108,000 people in America.

“American craft breweries have proven to be successful small businesses that create jobs and help fuel our economy,” Senator Coons said. “It’s important that we provide incentives for these businesses to expand. Coastal Brewing Company is an example of how a passion for brewing beer can go from a weekend hobby to a thriving business. I thank Jim Lutz for participating in today’s meeting and sharing his insights on how the government can work to boost brewers across the country.”

“As small brewers, we appreciate the work that our legislators put into leveling the playing field,” Jim Lutz, President and CEO of Coastal Brewing Company, said.  “Their vigilance assures us access to unrecognized business opportunities, allowing us to reinvest our resources in the local economy.”

The discussion comes on the heels of the introduction of the Small BREW Act — the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act — which was introduced last Thursday and would reduce the excise tax on each barrel of beer brewed by small brewers. Senator Coons and Senator Tom Carper are co-sponsors of the bill.

Under current law, brewers generally pay an $18 excise tax on each barrel brewed.  Small brewers, currently defined as those that brew fewer than 2 million barrels of beer a year, pay a reduced excise tax of $7 per barrel for the first 60,000 barrels of beer they brew each year. The Small BREW Act would reduce the excise tax applicable to brewers producing up to 6 million barrels per year to just $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels and $16 on additional barrels below 2 million per year.

The Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee is dedicated to fostering dialogue between Senate Democrats and community leaders from across the nation. Each year, the Steering Committee hosts several meetings with advocates, policy experts, and elected officials to discuss key priorities and enlist their help in the development of the Democratic agenda in the Senate.


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