Posted in Beer News

Senator Files Legislation Protecting Massachusetts Brewers

Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth)
Contact: Rob Butman 617-722-1646

August 4, 2011


Legislation promotes craft brewing in Massachusetts

BOSTON, MA – Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) responding to a recent advisory from the Alcoholic Brevages Control Commission (ABCC) has filed legislation protecting Massachusetts brewers.

The advisory sent August 1st, explains the ABCC interpretation of Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) chapter 138, §19C which indentifies farm-brewers. In its decision, the Commission held that each applicant for a Farmer-Brewery license must document that it grows cereal grains or hops of at least 50%, in the aggregate, of the quantity of cereal grains and hops needed to produce the gallonage of malt beverages estimated to be produced by the applicant during the license term.

The interpretation by ABCC appears as an attempt to force small brewers to obtain the more complicated manufacturer’s license, which also cost far more than the “Farm-Brewer” License.

“At a time when industries are struggling, forcing small brewers to obtain high cost licenses seems counter-productive,” said Senator Hedlund, “what we should be doing is creating a streamlined licensing process using these low cost licenses as an incentive and actually grow an industry in Massachusetts as opposed to destroying one.”

The legislation Senate Docket 2072, filed August 4th by Hedlund, creates a new license in the alcoholic manufactures license law for craft brewers. Brewers still have the option of operating under newly interpreted “Farm-Brewer” definition or to utilize the new craft beer license the legislation creates. Rather than paying the $6,000 – $10,000 for a manufactures license, this new license makes it affordable for craft brewers producing less than 200,000 barrels per year. The legislation also protects the self- distribution and retail sales components of the “Farm Brewer” business model.

Craft Brewers producing less than 5,000 barrels pay a fee of $22
Craft Brewers producing 5,000 barrels to 20,000 barrels pay a fee of $44
Craft Brewers producing 20,000 barrels to 100,000 barrels pay a fee of $82
Craft Brewers producing 100,000 to 200,000 barrels pay a fee of $110

With 28 members of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild and breweries ranging in size from Harpoon, to Idle Hands the legislation could be a means of attracting even more brewers to Massachusetts and employing even more Massachusetts residents.

“Craft brewers already must deal with many disadvantages, from our archaic regulatory structure to the outdated 3 tiered distribution rules to competition from international conglomerate brewers. We should be creating incentives to promote this industry not hamstring it,” said Senator Hedlund.



U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA)

CONTACT: Colin Reed: 202-224-4543

August 5, 2011


Legislation Lowers Excise Tax On Brewers, Helps Create Jobs In Key Massachusetts Industry

WASHINGTON, DC – Today on the first stop of his statewide jobs tour, U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) announced that he was co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation to lower excise taxes on brewers at the August Annual Meeting of the Beer Institute in Boston.

The Brewers Excise and Economic Relief or BEER Act of 2011, which was introduced in May 2011 by U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), would lower the excise tax on beer to pre-1991 levels. It would also cut the tax per barrel in half from 18 dollars to 9, and provide tax relief for small breweries by cutting the tax on their first 60,000 barrels produced from 7 dollars to 3.50.

In 1991, an excise tax was imposed on a series of products, and beer is the only product on which the tax has not yet been repealed. The higher tax has resulted in a loss of 60,000 jobs throughout the industry. In Massachusetts alone, the beer industry generates more than 40,000 jobs, including brewers, distributors and licensed retailers, and contributes nearly $5.5 billion annually to the Commonwealth’s economy.

“The beer industry is responsible for thousands of good-paying jobs in Massachusetts, and I am proud to be joining this bipartisan legislation that will cut their taxes,” said Sen. Brown. “Bay State brewers led the way in the brewing revolution, and we need to make sure that we provide a favorable business environment so they can continue growing, creating jobs and, last but not least, producing quality beer.”

Brown is also an original co-sponsor of the Brewer’s Employment & Excise Relief Act, which was introduced by U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) earlier this year and is targeted at lowering taxes for small breweries.


[ Filed under: Beer News ]