Third District Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN) stopped by Lucid Brewing in Minnetonka to discuss a bill he’s cosponsoring that aims to help the microbrew industry by reducing federal excise taxes on start-up breweries.
Paulsen—whose district includes Eden Prairie, Edina, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Plymouth and several Lake Minnetonka communities—toured the brewery with Lucid Co-owner Jon Messier and the owners of Bad Weather Brewery and Badger Hill Brewery, which share the facility with Lucid.
The Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce (BREW) Act, which was introduced by Reps. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Richard E. Neal (D-MA) on Feb. 5, would halve the excise tax on the first 60,000 barrels—from $7 to $3.5 per barrel—and institute a new rate of $16 per barrel on beer production from 60,000 barrels up to 2 million barrels. Breweries that produce 6 million barrels or less annually would see a savings from the tax breaks.
Small BREW Act supporters say the bill would help an industry that’s become a significant part of the state’s economy. In 2012, Minnesota’s 143 brewers and beer wholesalers contributed to 34,760 jobs, paid $665,400,000 in taxes and had a total economic impact of about $4 billion, according to the Beer Institute.
“The brewery started with two employees, my partner Eric Biermann and me,” a release quoted Jon Messier. “In two years we have grown the business to having ten full-time employees and six part-time employees. As a small company we are always looking to hire talented people to help us grow the brewery. A reduction in Federal taxes allows us to do this. We'll be able to hire more employees at competitive wages and offer benefits to existing employees that we could otherwise not afford.”