Just as craft distillers did in May, the brewers association also went to Washington D.C. to lobby Congress to make permanent the two-year reduction in federal excise taxes that went into effect January 1, 2018, cutting tax rates for craft brewers from $7 to $3.50 per barrel for the first 60,000 barrels. While they were there, the brewers also advocated for increased funding for hops and barley research. Another important talking point, as reported by the brewers association, was to educate staff about the potential impact of steel and aluminum tariffs on the brewing industry.
On March 8, 2018, the president signed a proclamation imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. According to the Beer Institute, a 10 percent tariff would cost the beer industry about $347 million annually. Brewers argued that the increased tariffs could put breweries at a competitive disadvantage since wine and spirits companies primarily package their products in glass bottles. Brewers informed members of Congress that the move could hurt the growing industry and hinder the temporary relief brewer’s felt from the recent excise tax reductions.
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