For those unfamiliar with the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, the recently passed tax reform applying to alcoholic beverage manufacturers, the short of it is that the legislation offers two years of heavy relief from federal excise taxes applied to one of the most severely taxed industries in the US. So, what are craft brewers, distillers, and vintners going to do with it? For most, the word is grow.
The tax breaks will translate into substantial annual savings for these craft beverage makers, between $20,000 and $100,000 to be more precise, and allow them to hire more staff, expand operations, and invest in marketing to build their brands.
For many of the nation’s thousands of small breweries, the tax break of $3.50, effectively halving the previous $7.00, on the first 60,000 barrels(BBL) produced for domestic breweries producing less than 2 million BBL annually, will be a desperately needed lifeline. To put things into perspective, that $7 has been anywhere from 15 percent to 25 percent of the total cost of that BBL.
Competing with the likes of D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Boston Beer Co., mom-and-pop and Main-street brew operations have had a hard time coming up in an industry that has seen improved performance year on year but is at the same time contracting. An extra $20,000 going towards a brewpub can provide another part-time employee, new vats, advertising, and a host of other potentially powerful tools to aid expansion. Some operations will transcend the modest manufacturing operations to the regional scale and evolve into full-blown enterprises as a result. With new enterprise comes new concerns, including accounting, production, distribution, and, perhaps the most significant hurdle of even the most robust ERP solutions, tax responsibilities.
The same positive outlook is true of the States’ 1,500 craft distillers who are already seeing big benefits from the change. The tax cuts bring federal excise taxes for distillers down significantly from $13.50 to $2.70 per proof gallon, applying to the first 100,000 gallons per year for a two-year period. Used to its maximum benefit, the savings translates to $2.16 million. With taxes on distilled spirits among the highest in the US, reaching more than 50 percent of a product’s purchase price in many cases, the relief is more than welcome from the craft distillers of America.
The industry workforce has grown to 20,000 with a cumulative investment total of $600 million in the last decade alone. Compare that to Jack Daniel’s Distilleries, which blows through that 100,000-gallon tax break in one day of production, and the future is only looking brighter for the craft distillers of America.
Vintners Toast Approval
Wine is another beneficiary of the latest excise tax reform, albeit with a slightly more complicated structure. Wine is taxed based on alcohol content with new rates applied to those containing 16 percent or less of alcohol, 16 percent to 21 percent, and 21 percent to 24 percent. These categories are taxed 21-cents, 31-cents, and 62-cents per bottle respectively. The benefits are a bit easier to see with a broader view. Let’s first take the initial 30,000 gallons a winery produces. Each of these barrels receives a $1 credit per gallon. The following 100,000 gallons receive a 90-cent tax credit and a 53.5-cent credit is applied to the next 620,000 gallons. All wine produced after that is taxed at the standard rate. The new tax rates are a far cry better than those previously afforded to the small wineries of America and when used to their fullest potential can provide craft vintners more than $450,000 in tax credits.
With the results of the tax reform already taking effect, it’s not hard to see why the craft beverage manufacturers of America are celebrating. This reduction of excise taxes will afford the burgeoning craft beverage industry considerable capacity for expansion over the next two years and we can’t wait to see where the influx of capital will take up and coming enterprises.
About Encompass Solutions
Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.