Robert Menendez

US Senator for New Jersey
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Menendez, NJ Brewer Discuss "Small BREW Act" During American Craft Beer Week

May 16, 2013

Washington, DC – Today, during American Craft Beer Week, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) met with members of the Brewers Association, including Gene Muller, founder and general manager of New Jersey’s Flying Fish Brewing Company.

Among the topics discussed was the recently introduced “Small BREW Act” (S. 917, The Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act). This legislation, of which Senator Menendez is an original co-sponsor, would fuel regional economies by reducing the excise tax on each barrel of beer brewed by small brewers.

Video Clips Available For Download

“It isn’t every day a Senator gets to talk about beer on the job, but it makes sense when you consider small brewers’ ability to create jobs and propel our economy. For all that they do, I tip a figurative pint to the outstanding small brewers I met with today,” said Sen. Menendez. “In New Jersey, small brewers like Gene Muller and his Flying Fish Brewing Company not only produce some great brews, they help the New Jersey economy. I’m glad to have met this Somerdale success story. He is just one reason why we need to pass the Small BREW Act, and help cut small brewers’ tax burden so they can put more people to work and bring more artisan brews to the marketplace.”

“Small brewers have reenergized the nation's beer culture by combining creativity, personality and a healthy dose of fun.  But that doesn’t mean what we do isn’t serious business,” said Gene Muller, founder and general manager of the Flying Fish Brewing Company of Somerdale, New Jersey. “Senator Menendez and his colleagues understand that behind every American craft brewer’s label is a small business creating jobs, fueling the economy and needing government’s help–not its hassles. That’s why I appreciate Sen. Menendez and his colleagues for sponsoring the Small BREW Act and for giving us the chance to discuss the needs of our businesses.  This kind of support will help small brewers like me do everything we can to keep America moving forward.”

Under current law, brewers generally pay an $18 excise tax on each barrel brewed.  Small brewers, currently defined as those that brew fewer than 2 million barrels of beer a year, pay a reduced excise tax of $7 per barrel for the first 60,000 barrels of beer they brew each year. The Small BREW Act would reduce the excise tax applicable to brewers producing up to 6 million barrels per year to just $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels and $16 on additional barrels below 2 million per year.

An economic impact study by Dr. John Friedman at Harvard University found that the bill would generate $183.1 million in economic activity in the first year and almost $1.04 billion over five years and would also create nearly 5,230 jobs in just the first year.  New Jersey is home to 31 craft brewers, with at least 28 more in the planning stages.

The small brewer threshold and tax rate were established in 1976 and have never been updated.  Since then, the annual production of America’s largest brewery increased from 45 million barrels to 105 million barrels.  Raising the ceiling that defines small breweries from 2 million barrels to 6 million barrels more accurately reflects the intent of the original differentiation between large and small brewers in the U.S.

American Craft Beer Week, May 13-19, is a celebration of America’s small and independent craft brewers and their contributions to America’s communities and our economy.

For your broadcast or online video use:

  • Senator Menendez & Gene Muller (HD & SD video)
    • Includes:
      • Various interview clips from Gene Muller (0:15-1:11)
      • One interview clip from Senator Menendez (1:12-1:55)
      • Close up shots of the two men talking in the Capitol (1:57-2:05) & (2:16-2:20)
      • Medium shots of the two men talking in the Capitol (2:07-2:15)
  • Flying Fish Brewery (.mov)
    • Includes:
      • Exterior shots and video of packaging beer

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