Today, I’m sure Sandy will garner the majority of your attention. However, if you are still looking forward to the elections next week then you are in good company. There are a couple of things you should keep in mind before the election (other than secondary concerns like fiscal policy, health care reform, and international relations, of course) and those are which candidate cares more about beer and which beer will you be drinking while you watch the votes come in next Tuesday.
I would caution you to temper your excitement. While it would be great if the biggest issues facing this country were concerning brewing, know that the President isn’t going to do much for beer. However there is something a bit more important to the craft beer community on the books in congress now. It is the BREW Act, a bi-partisan bill sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). The main goal of the BREW Act is to lower the federal excise tax on barrels of beer produced by Craft Brewers.
If you are currently following the bill on GOVTRACK.us, you can see that there isn’t much progress being made at the moment. However, GOVTRACK.us states that the bill only has a 5% chance to pass at this time. This is bad, so it would great if everyone took a second to make their opinion heard in support of the bill. This would be a great benefit to small, up and coming breweries as the biggest tax incentives are for breweries producing less than 60,000 bbl’s per yer. This would allow for small, craft breweries to have a much better chance of success which, in turn, supplies more jobs, more revenue into local economies, and more beer!
While neither presidential candidate will be overly concerned with this bill, it is still an important piece of legislation. This will be sorted out, discussed, and voted on by congress, so that is where any efforts in support of this bill should be focussed. One good sign is that the White House is now publicly brewing beer. Whether you agree with Obama’s policies or not, it can’t hurt our cause knowing that there is an interest in homebrewed beer at the highest form of office in this country. There may even come a time when domestic and foreign policy is discussed over a home brew!