Colorado brewers could benefit from GOP tax reform

Advocates say will the bill benefits alcohol producers nationwide and could create jobs in the craft brewing industry.

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Declaration Brewing near the Evans light rail stop. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  brewery; beer; light rail; train; transportation; bars; food; dining; drinks; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty

Declaration Brewing near the Evans light rail stop. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Colorado craft brewing advocates are celebrating the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act because the legislation could mean savings for beer makers in the state.

The GOP’s tax reform legislation included the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act which advocates say will benefit alcohol producers nationwide and could create jobs in the craft brewing industry. Both the Colorado Brewers Guild and Brewers Association praised the provisions Thursday after Republicans passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act this week.

“We applaud our guild members who tirelessly joined the Brewers Association on Capitol Hill climbs and district meetings to emphasize the importance of this legislation and how it will help stimulate economic growth across Colorado,” said Andres Gil Zaldana, executive director of the Colorado Brewers Guild, in a statement.

Starting in 2018 the federal excise tax will be reduced in half to $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels for domestic brewers producing less than 2 million barrels annually. The rate will be cut 11 percent to $16 per barrel on the first 6 million barrels for all other brewers and beer importers.

The savings, advocates say, will allow hundreds of Colorado’s small brewers, including many manufacturers and entrepreneurs, to reinvest in their businesses, expand their operations and hire more workers. The legislation is currently written as a two-year provision.

“We are very appreciative that Congress has enacted these bipartisan, strongly supported measures,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO, Brewers Association.

“Our expectation is that small brewers will use their savings related to the recalibration of the federal excise tax on beer to invest in their breweries, expand their operations, create more jobs and hire more American workers,” Peas said in a statement.

The president of Left Hand Brewing Co., Eric Wallace, said the new provisions and expected savings already mean four new jobs for the Longmont-based brewery.

“Additional employment opportunities could follow later in the year,” Wallace said.

Colorado craft brewers contribute more than $3 billion to Colorado’s economy and are responsible for an estimated 22,220 jobs, according to industry data.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.