Distillers Head to Capitol Hill to Urge Support for Spirits Tax Cut

Robert Mueller may have garnered the most attention from this nation’s capital this past week, but the former special counsel was far from the only important matter in Washington D.C.

At the same time as Mueller, more than 150 distillers from around the country gathered in Washington, D.C. for the distilled spirits industry’s 10th annual Public Policy Conference, co-hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA).

The conference featured a series of legislative and regulatory sessions on key federal and state issues impacting the distilling industry. As part of the conference, craft distillers participated in more than 250 congressional visits with their home state legislators to urge support for the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 1175/S. 362).

This legislation makes permanent a federal excise tax cut on distilled spirits that was enacted in 2017. Without congressional approval, the tax cut for distillers will expire December 31, 2019.

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Distillers also discussed with legislators the impacts that retaliatory tariffs on spirits exports have on American distillers as they expand into foreign markets, and the importance of their distilleries to the economic development of their surrounding communities.

“This is a historic moment for our industry as more than 150 distillers from 33 states descend on Washington to rally further support for this critical, urgent legislation,” says Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO, American Craft Spirits Association. “Without permanent and immediate Federal Excise Tax reform, the stability of this vibrant industry, and the industries that surround us – agriculture, tourism and the broader hospitality industry – are bound to be paralyzed.”

Conference speakers included: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), co-sponsor of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (S.362); Senator Rob Portman (R-OH); Senator Jon Tester (D-MT); Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau officials; and Carl Hulse, New York Times chief Washington correspondent and author of Confirmation Bias.

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