LAKE PLACID — Craft breweries could see a 50 percent cut in federal excise tax if a bipartisan bill wins federal approval.
Legislation pending in Congress would drop the $7 tax per barrel of beer made by small breweries to $3.50 for the first 60,000 barrels.
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Senate Bill S.917 is known as the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act of 2013, or Small BREW Act.
It is related to legislation introduced to Congress in 2011, the BEER (Brewers Employment and Excise Relief) Act, which applies to larger brewing companies producing more than 6 million barrels per year.
Not all breweries make that much beer however.
At Lake Placid Pub & Brewery, owner and founder Chris Ericson has championed this line of legislation for some time.
His company produces about 1,500 barrels of award-winning beer at the company’s headquarters on Mirror Lake. The beer maker crafts another 6,000 barrels with a contract brewery in Utica.
“The Small BREW Act will cut the tax in half for the majority of craft brewers in the United States,” Ericson told the Press-Republican as local elected officials waited for federal lawmakers to arrive for a tour Friday morning.
Currently, Lake Placid facilities pay about $43,000 in federal excise tax for the beer they make, he said.
“That would be a $4,000 to $16,000 savings,” Ericson said. “It is very significant.”
As U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) walked past giant barrels of fermenting beer and stacks of malt-filled sacks and hops, they talked with Ericson about the process.
Schumer said that, beyond Ericson’s small-business success, the craftsmanship in every bottle also attracts attention to the Adirondack region and touts Lake Placid.
Ericson started making beer in 1996. His Ubu Ale and several other Lake Placid Pub & Brewery craft beers have won both national and international acclaim.