grehorst

Reduced Excise Bill Introduced

31 posts in this topic

Distillers, Distillers-to-be, Industry Supporters.

The Bill on which we have all been working so hard has finally been introduced

to Congress and assigned #777. At this point we ask you all to contact your

local Congressman and Senators requesting their support of this very important

Bill. For your convenience we have prepared a letter that could be used when

reaching out to your representatives. Feel free to use the letter as written,

specific excerpts, or your own wording entirely, but please do circulate this letter

in order to garner as much support as possible to keep the momentum going on

this critical and much-needed legislation.

–The ADI Legislative Committee

_______________________________LETTER__________________________

The United States is in the midst of a resurgence in distilling, a craft that began

with our founding fathers, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and others

whose early 19th Century whiskey production helped revitalize the colonial

economy following the Revolutionary War.

Prohibition drove hundreds of distillers out of business or underground in

the 1920s, and following repeal, only a few smaller operations were able to

reestablish viable businesses in the face of competition from larger U.S. and

international distillers. That situation has changed dramatically in recent years.

Americans have built more than 150 craft distilleries in 40 states, learning the lost

art forms, producing some of the world's finest spirits, and complementing other

regional small businesses.

Many small distillers are now building distribution networks with licensed

wholesalers throughout the nation. One of the biggest impediments to our

ability to grow and succeed is the federal excise tax on distilled spirits, currently

at $13.50 per proof gallon. This regressive tax dates back to the second bill

enacted by the U.S. Congress, which levied taxes on domestic and imported

alcohol beverages. The tax applies to distillers of all size regardless of their

profitability, making it a tremendous challenge for startup companies with limited

capital and high initial costs for equipment, ingredients, and other business

necessities.

To provide some relief to this new class of American entrepreneurs,

Congressman Hinchey of NY State has introduced H.R. #777, a bill that would

reduce the federal distilled spirits excise tax rate to $2.70 per proof gallon for

distillers that produce fewer than 65,000 gallons annually. This discounted

tier structure mirrors what the small beer and wine producers have enjoyed for

decades and how that's helped micro brewers and small wineries to flourish

throughout the country. This tax reduction will enable these small distilleries to

invest in new equipment and provide new, high-quality and sustainable jobs in

communities across the United States.

If you are interested in joining in this effort to provide needed tax relief to these

new American enterprises or if you would like additional background information,

please contact Kristin Cook at Congressman Hinchey's Office.

Kristin.cook@mail.house.gov

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May I suggest that we have a simple website address with the letter and an overview of the info to refer people to? For example, I'd like to post the info on my business/personal facebook, twitter, etc. and have as many folks in as many districts contact their reps and senators to aid in the effort and if they can go to a website and get the basic info, I believe that will help things.

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May I suggest that we have a simple website address with the letter and an overview of the info to refer people to? For example, I'd like to post the info on my business/personal facebook, twitter, etc. and have as many folks in as many districts contact their reps and senators to aid in the effort and if they can go to a website and get the basic info, I believe that will help things.

Better yet, why not set up a Facebook page specifically to house the effort. I'd be happy to help with that.

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I think this is a great idea!

Shaun

Spirit of Texas

Better yet, why not set up a Facebook page specifically to house the effort. I'd be happy to help with that.

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Good letter, but, if this is also intended to rally support of non-distilling constituents (for a Facebook page... not just as a letter to Representatives), maybe add more of a focus on what this means to the consumer, rather than to the craft distiller.

Make the consumer care.

Maybe an appeal to a sense of fairness... "It's not fair! Why should small breweries and wineries be given special tax breaks, while the same benefit is not also extended to small distilleries?"

Maybe an appeal to good ole' American capitalism... "Small wineries and craft breweries have flourished as a result of tax breaks like this. Because of this, consumers have far greater choice of fine wines and beers they can buy! So why should consumers' choice be limited to spirits from multi-national corporate conglomerates? Your support of this bill will help craft distilleries bring their fine products to market for you to enjoy -- world-class spirits that are hand-crafted in the USA by American labor! Support for your local distilleries means local jobs and award-winning products you can feel proud of. Tax breaks for small business means greater competition, and that's always a good thing for consumers. Isn't that what capitalism is all about?"

Solicit action... "The bill has now been introduced before congress. That's motion in the right direction! But too often Washington D.C. confuses 'motion' for 'action'. We need YOU to demand ACTION from congress. [From the original letter...] If you are interested in joining in this effort to provide needed tax relief to these new American enterprises or if you would like additional background information, please contact Kristin Cook at Congressman Hinchey's Office."

Just my 2-cents... I'm just thinking, "Why should a consumer care enough to support tax breaks to craft distilleries, particularly in this time when they're looking at federal, state and local government spending cuts across the board in their own backyard?"

I don't want to sound like a wet blanket. The first step has successfully been taken. Excellent! Now we need to shift the focus towards rallying public support, right?

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I just sent this to 4 senators and 2 congressmen. As I am military, I am effectively represented by 2 states and 2 districts. Lets hope for a change, but the more emails that go out, the better luck this will have!

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Ive cross posted this to several of my community message boards, and have friends that write for 2 local papers where i am trying to get a couple of articles written ( i think that is a great tactic for everyone else as well)

Also, i've contacted both of my representatives informing them of the issue, and asking them how best we can help the community ask for support.

Finally this was my letter to congress in support of the bill. Its kind of scattered, but there was a character count on the submission form, so i was limited in the detail... its also a litte flowery, but i figure politicians might appreciate that type of lexicon.

I support H.R. 777: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to reduce the rate of tax on distilled spirits produced by small producers because I am a small producer of craft spirits. As the son of the Master Distiller in our family business, I have had the great fortune not only to work along side my father, but also to learn at the hands of a master craftsman. It has not only provided a livelihood and a skill-set for me and my family, but also given us the hope of one day passing along our skills to future generations, creating a distilling dynasty. Our small distillery has been open since 1998, almost 13 years now... and it has been a struggle every step of the way. We as small producers face so many obstacles and barriers to entry, its a wonder that people try to start craft distilleries at all. Not only would a reduction in excise tax for small producers greatly alleviate the financial strain we currently face, but it would also help to allow (what is my humble opinion) one of the greatest American attributes to shine through us.... ingenuity.

Ingenuity is what makes Americans great. It is what helped shape this great nation, and continues to set it apart from others. We believe we can do anything, and if if that anything exists already, we believe we can do it better. This spirit rings true with the production of spirits that are unrivaled in the world; in the idea that unbound by historical regulations, we can make something wonderful. Ill repeat so that it is not lost.. we can MAKE something wonderful, in these times when America barely produces anything anymore.

We saw a huge boom in the micro/craft brewing industry due to this very spirit; yet, the craft distilling industry has seen only a fraction of the growth of its alcohol producing cousins ( beer and wine). Much of this is due to factors that are for the time being outside of our control ( self distribution, tasting, direct sales, etc)

This tax reduction, though, is the first big step, the first real opportunity for our government to show that they support that same creativity, and ingenuity, and hard working spirit of our industry.

Please vote in support of H.R.777, and help support an industry that can contribute to America being the envy of all other nations, Let us do our part.

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Just my 2-cents... I'm just thinking, "Why should a consumer care enough to support tax breaks to craft distilleries, particularly in this time when they're looking at federal, state and local government spending cuts across the board in their own backyard?"

I don't want to sound like a wet blanket. The first step has successfully been taken. Excellent! Now we need to shift the focus towards rallying public support, right?

This is a good point, and i have already had to defend "our" position to a few people... so perhaps some more discussion on these boards, maybe posting up examples of discussions you have had with people you're trying to convince, so that we can share and concepts/tactics that seem to work well, and avoid those that dont. True grassroots

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Hi all,

I know there was list of "talking points" for previous legislation. I was looking for something similar for HR #777. Does anyone have a list of the "facts" and numbers they could forward to me?

Thanks,

Todd

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Hello Everyone -

If you haven't already been there - please visit our Facebook page supporting HR 777. It is called Support American Craft Distilling and you can go directly there with this link:

https://www.facebook.com/SupportAmericanCraftDistilling

Through the page you can send a note to your Congressman, download and forward background information, and generally keep up with news and progress on the issue. We are also working on a separate website, some excellent video and other grassroots tools.

The most important thing right now is asking your own Congressman (or woman) to not just support the bill, but to also sign on as a co-sponsor. ADI, DISCUS, and several distillers are working diligently on this but we need all the help we can get.

Please feel free to contact me anytime with any questions, comments and especially suggestions. You can reach me at mark.shilling@govt-affairs.com or feel free to call me at 512-814-5220.

Thanks!

Mark Shilling

Shilling Public Affairs

and

Revolution Spirits

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As an Australian Distiller, all I can say is.... "you lucky lucky bastards" sigh. I only wish we could get the same here. Wine makers are excempt in Australia from excise/WET if they are under about AU$4million turnover. Brewers and Distillers are not. One of major issues is our small industry, probably about 30 small distilleries in total, not forgetting that more people live in NY State, than do in the whole of Australia.

rich

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Below is a copy of the letter I sent to our Congresspeople for the State of Maine, both of which were more than happy to sign on as co-sponsors. Feel free to copy into correspondence to your representatives. I also attached the offical ADI letter in addition to this.

To Whom it May Concern,

I own and operate a small business in Maine which produces Twenty 2 Micro Distilled Vodka and Twenty 2 High Proof Spirit. I am writing on behalf of my full support for H.R. #777, and I am requesting that Representative Michaud become a co-sponsor of the bill.

Attached you will find a brief explanation of what the bill is about and the impact the bill would have on the growing industry of artisan distillers across the country. To provide some perspective, if this bill had been enacted in 2010, our business would have saved over $xx,xxx in federal distillers excise tax. As you can imagine, this is quite a significant amount of money for any small business. This direct and immediate reduction of tax liability may then be used to further reinvest our business in turn strengthening the local and state economies. HR #777 is not an unprecedented action, as a similar federal excise tax reduction is already in place for both small brewers and small wineries around the country.

Representative Michaud’s co-sponsorship will directly support a growing manufacturing industry in Maine, and throughout the country. If you have any questions in regards to benefits of this bill or the details of how it will affect our business, please do not hesitate to contract me.

Thank you for your time and support.

Sincerely,

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Besides ADI's page, where can I find more information about this bill, and how it is progressing? Also, is there a reference that has other political issues that might be of interest to micro/craft distillers/brewers?

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Hi Vintage,

A bill hasn't yet been introduced for this Congressional session, but it will be, so stay tuned. The SmallBREW Act beer excise bill has been introduced: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr494ih/pdf/BILLS-113hr494ih.pdf

Here's your best bet to stay informed about legislative issues on the beer side: http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/government-affairs/excise-taxes

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Just this morning I sent letters to Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) as well as Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Cory Booker (D-NJ). I also posted something about the bill on our Facebook page. I would encourage everyone here to do the same. Given the current low level of support in both the House and the Senate, the only chance this bill has is if we turn up the heat, considerably.

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Follow up:

I emailed my Congressman (Chris Smith, NJ-4th) and both Senators yesterday morning (Cory Booker, Robert Menendez). What's interesting about this bill is that the House legislation (H.R. 4083) was introduced by a Republican, Christopher Gibson of New York. The Senate bill (S. 2169) was introduced by Kirsten Gillibrand, who is a Democrat - ostensibly, there could be bi-partisan support of we could move this thing out of committees (Ways & Means in the House, Finance in the Senate) where it currently sits.

This afternoon I called Chris Smith's legislative affairs office in D.C. to voice my support. The nice woman at the D.C. office was very interested and I got a much stronger response via phone than I did via email.

I would encourage everyone to take the following actions:

  1. Send emails - 3 in total - to your Rep and Senators. You can do it from their official home pages on the Congressional web sites, it takes 5 minutes and you'll get a nice auto-reply for your troubles. :)
  2. Follow up with a phone call to the D.C. office of your Congressman. If you don't know the number, contact the local district office (which will be in the nice auto-reply) and they'll gladly give it to you. Be concise - say you're calling to ask the Congressman's support of HR 4083, which amends the federal tax code to reduce the excise tax on less than 100,000 gallons of distilled spirits. Say that you're a craft distiller and you have a vested interest in the Congressman's support of this legislation.
  3. Find your Congressman's Facebook page, "Like" it if you have to, then post a brief message asking that they support HR 4083.
  4. If you have Facebook pages of your own, post a message asking your friends to undertake as many of the previous 3 steps as they are willing.

None of this takes a great deal of time. It absolutely HAS to be worth it, seeing that this bill (if enacted) would put considerable capital into our coffers - money that can be invested to grow our businesses.

Cheers!

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Thank you for the copy of the bill. Today one of the senator from Maryland responded. Let out some heat and see if we could go from $13.50 per 100 proof to $3.50 per proof gallon.

Thank you

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An update on H.R.4083 / S.2169 - the Distillery Excise Tax Reform Act of 2014.


Having sent correspondence to Congressman Chris Smith and Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, I have thus far received and actual, contextual reply from only one of the three - Sen. Menendez, who indicated that he would be willing to support the legislation if it came to a floor vote.


First, let me say that to be effectively ignored by a Congressman serving my own district (Chris Smith, NJ-4th) with regard to legislation that provides real economic opportunity for our state is, to say the least, troubling. The bill, introduced into both the House and Senate by New York legislators, currently sits in committee. The only way to move it forward is to get it out of committee is by brute force - that's how our system works. Legislation is introduced and referred to committee every day, but only those bills with broad support actually make it to the floor for a vote. And, unfortunately, the only way a bill gains broad support is if the legislators interested in supporting it feel that doing so will benefit them politically. And, of course, the key to political support lies largely in a strong constituent response.


I urge everyone to take a few moments to locate the web sites of their legislators and send a brief message in support of H.R.4083 and S.2169. Reducing the federal excise tax on craft distillers will offer the industry as a whole a tax-based incentive to grow their small businesses, invest in facilities and equipment and provide real jobs for their local economies. Please exercise your voices and make yourselves heard.

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A hearty "Good on ya" to whoever in Montana has been doing follow-up. S.2169, the companion bill to H.R.4083, has just picked up an additional co-sponsor in Sen. John Walsh (D-MT).

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