Tax relief for craft beverage makers extended through 2020

Craft beverage makers two years ago got a boost when Washington trimmed taxes and regulations affecting breweries, wineries and distillieries. Advocacy groups such as Wine America, Beer Institute, Distilled Spirits Council, and the U.S. Association of Cider Makers have been lobbying lawmakers to make the changes permanent. That hasn’t happened.

But supporters say they see the recently passed, one-year extension as something worth celebrating.

“This is a major victory for the American wine industry, and a huge relief for wineries of all sizes across the country,” stated Marty Clubb, an owner/winemaker in Washington state and chairman of the WineAmerica Board of Directors. “While there is more work to be done, this extension is a major step forward.”

The federal Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) passed in 2017 reduced excise taxes affecting some 5,300 breweries, 8,000 wineries, and 800 distilleries across the country. The one-year extension keeps the changes in place through 2020.

“WineAmerica has been working throughout the year with our colleagues in the beer, cider, mead and spirits sectors on the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act,” stated Jim Trezise, WineAmerica president.

“Our ultimate goal has been to secure permanence on this essential tax savings that have allowed for substantial savings and spurred reinvestment from wineries of all sizes. The larger CBMTRA currently has 74 Senate sponsors and 332 in the House. We will continue to work with our coalition partners to secure either permanence or a long term extension.

“WineAmerica just demonstrated its incredible value to the American wine industry,” added Trezise, former president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. “The powerful combination of daily work by our staff and lobbyists, national grassroots advocacy, and collaboration with other beverage associations was the perfect recipe for success.”

Trezise said that the new extension of the CBMTRA includes an important fix particular to the wine industry regarding tax credits, which will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018.

The House bill, H.R. 1175, which calls for making the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act permanent, is backed by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, led by co-chairs Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning and Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.