(While this is a more local focused story, this act should help small breweries across the country.-PGA)
Sen. Charles E. Schumer peers into a fermentation tank with Peter Martin, director of brewery operations at Brownâ€™s Brewing Co.,in Troy, Tuesday, where Sen. Schumer announced his support for a bill which would provide small breweries with a break on annual excise taxes. (Mike McMahon / The Record)
Written by Katie Nowak for troyrecord.com
TROY, NYâ€” As he toured Brownâ€™s Brewing Company Tuesday, nibbling on toasted barley and chatting with employees, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, paused to reflect on the breweryâ€™s place in the financial landscape.
â€œItâ€™s the new economy, right here,â€ Schumer said.
That new economy will get a boost if Schumer has his way, as New Yorkâ€™s senior senator announced his support for bipartisan legislation called the Brewers Excise and Economic Relief Act, or BEER Act, which would give small local breweries, like Brownâ€™s, a tax cut, ultimately helping them reinvest in their operations and expand their workforce.
Breweries across the country currently pay a $7 excise tax on the first 60,000 barrels they brew annually, and Brownâ€™s shoulders a $28,000 bill thanks to that tax. But the BEER Act would cut that tax in half for breweries which produce fewer than six million barrels per year, to $3.50 per barrel, and would take $2 off the tax on the remaining barrels up to two million.
For Brownâ€™s President Garry Brown, the BEER Act would be a huge help, since the company is planning on expanding its production operations at a new site in Hoosick Falls, set to open later this year. The facility would eventually bump Brownâ€™s annual output from 3,500 barrels to 15,000 barrels, Brown said, meaning a potential tax bill in excess of $100,000.
With the BEER Act, Brown said he was â€œthrilledâ€ with the possibility of chopping that number in half, and what that would mean for his companyâ€™s growth.
â€œThis bill … will help us be a more profitable brewery down the road,â€ he said. â€œIf we can get our excise tax reduced, we can reinvest that money into our business, more equipment, more jobs, more beer gets into the community, and itâ€™s all good.â€
Schumer said that that is his ultimate plan for the bill, helping to â€œmake todayâ€™s growing brewing tradition even strongerâ€ by allowing those breweries to reinvest not only in themselves, but in their communities.
Citing his recent visit to the GlobalFoundries chip fab facility under-construction in Malta, Schumer said that though the plant and Brownâ€™s are different in scope and purpose, theyâ€™re both infusing the region with energy, and, more importantly, employment opportunities. Brownâ€™s, which already employs around 90 people, will add another 25 jobs at its new Hoosick Falls facility.
The continued opportunities that the BEER Act will provide Brownâ€™s are endless, Schumer said.
â€œIt means that breweries like Brownâ€™s will remain a crown jewel of Troy and communities like it, and it will also encourage new ones to come about,â€ he added.
The bill will affect around 60 breweries similar to Brownâ€™s across New York State, and 650 nation-wide. A Harvard study on the legislation projected that the BEER Act would increase economic activity in the small brewery sector by more than $115 million in its first year in action, and more than $733 million during the first five years.
Schumer said this â€œshot in the armâ€ legislation would â€œmake beer more enjoyable, jobs more plentiful here in the Capital Region.â€
Joining in Schumerâ€™s enthusiasm was Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino, who said the prospect of the bill allowing Brownâ€™s to expand its workforce would give the local economy a much-needed boost, as jobs are a key factor in stabilizing finances.
Mayor Harry Tutunjian noted the transformation that Troy has undergone since Brownâ€™s opened its doors in 1993, citing the brewery as a major player in revitalizing the Collar Cityâ€™s downtown and riverfront districts. The opportunity for the company that has given the city so much to receive something in return is an exciting one, Tutunjian said.
â€œItâ€™s a wonderful thing, weâ€™re proud to have them here and proud to see the great work being done … to make their success even greater,â€ he added.
Katie Nowak can be reached at 270-1287, by e-mail at email@example.com or on Twitter @knowak_record.