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Craft beer brewers fear tax hike

Tax breaks could expire unless Congress acts
Posted at 7:25 PM, Dec 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-13 21:25:37-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - It's the weekend and maybe you're looking forward to a nice, cool craft beer.

But a change in Federal Tax law -- could make the booming craft beer industry -- go flat.

Unless Congress acts soon -- tax breaks that helped craft breweries grow -- could go down the drain.

Tucson's Crooked Tooth Brewing Company made about five hundred barrels of beer last year, and equipment's on the way that could double that.

But a change in tax law on tap could make the bubbling craft brewing business go flat.

Unless Congress acts before the end of the year, tax breaks granted to help the industry grow will go away.

Ben Vernon at Crooked Tooth says that could double his tax burden.

"The tax right now is $3.50 and it's going up to seven so I mean $7 a barrel we put out, 500, approximately 500 barrels last year and we're getting ready to double our fermentation capacity in house. So now we're talking 1000 so that's $7,000 a year."

The craft brewing industry says reducing growth could fizzle a sparkling job market.

The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild says craft brewers employ close to ten thousand workers in our state.

There is a bill in the Senate to help out the craft brewers and extend that tax break but there's been no action on it since way back in February and that New Year's Eve deadline is closing in.

Ben Vernon says he'll try not to pass the cost onto beer lovers.

“But if it's something that is weighing in on the company and it's taken away from the ability to grow and it's taken away from our employees and the bottom line and we're not getting into that profit side of things, then it could be something that's passed on to the consumer."

The Brewers Guild thinks there's no real opposition to the tax relief bill but it simply stalled in Congress. The Guild wants to uncork those tax breaks and keep a successful industry flowing.