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New Hampshire Distillers Discuss Impact of Extended Tax Cut that Senator Hassan Secured for Craft Beverage Industry

SALEM – In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan visited Fabrizia Spirits in Salem this week to meet with members of the New Hampshire Craft Spirits Organization to discuss how the tax relief she secured is helping them grow their businesses. Senator Hassan successfully worked to temporarily extend excise tax cuts for craft brewers and distillers in the bipartisan government funding bill in 2019 and then worked to permanently extend this tax relief at the end of 2020 in the government funding and COVID-19 relief package. 


See below for coverage highlights:


Concord Monitor: Granite State distilleries share how they got creative last year

By Michaela Towfighi


Charles Lundergan opened Steadfast Spirits Distilling Co. in Concord envisioning a grand opening party with food trucks, live music and people in and out of his tasting room. He opened his doors on Jan. 31, 2020 and was soon met with a pandemic instead of a party.


[…] On Tuesday, members of the guild met with U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan at Fabrizia Spirits in Salem.


Seated around a white plastic table, Hassan spoke with the group about business challenges and solutions throughout the pandemic. Fabrizia’s limoncello, canned pre-made cocktails and hand sanitizer decorated the round table.


“What seems like little things to you are huge things to us at the end of the day,” Blake Amacker, owner and co-founder of Copper Cannon Distillery in Chesterfield, told Hassan.


Throughout the pandemic, one of the little things that was a source of relief for each business in the group was the Craft Beverage and Modernization Act, which was enacted in December 2020.


The act solidified a reduced tax rate for beer, distilled spirits and some wine. Previously, these breaks were temporary, enacted in 2018 and set to end in 2020.


“It was a game changer,” said Phil Mastroianni, co-founder of Fabrizia Spiritz. “My brother and I were on the verge of bankruptcy.”


The tax break allowed them to keep their prices competitive, while further investing into their business rolling out new products like canned cocktails.


[…] “The example we should all be following in D.C. is your example, you all work together and help each other,” said Hassan.


And with increased federal help, the distillers hope to see their businesses grow, inviting people in to try their products and support business revenue and tourism in New Hampshire.


Keene Sentinel: Hassan meets with distillers from Monadnock Region, beyond

By Caleb Symons


SALEM — In a meeting with U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan on Tuesday morning, New Hampshire distillers lauded recent tax cuts for their industry while also noting the challenges they still face due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Officials from eight distilleries — two of them in the Monadnock Region, including New England Sweetwater Farm and Distillery owner Alisa Lawrence — joined Hassan, D-N.H., at Fabrizia Spirits in Salem for a roundtable discussion after a tour of the facility, according to a news release from Hassan’s office.


[…] Much of the 90-minute conversation Tuesday, Lawrence said, focused on tax breaks for small, independent breweries that federal lawmakers included in a $2.3 trillion spending bill last December.


Those cuts — known formally as the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act — cemented lower rates that had been in place for several years but were set to expire at the end of 2020. Several distillers told Hassan that without the tax cuts, they could owe more than they make each month, according to Lawrence.


“Everybody pretty much had the same response of how helpful it was,” she said, calling the lower rates a “lifeline” to help distilleries stay open.


Hassan, who co-sponsored the proposal to make those rates permanent, wanted to hear how that policy has helped Granite State distillers and also how officials can assist in other ways, Lawrence said. In the news release Tuesday afternoon, Hassan said the distilleries represented in Salem “embody the entrepreneurial spirit of our state.”


“As New Hampshire rebuilds from the pandemic, supporting our small businesses will be key to getting back on our feet,” she said. “Not only are the distillers with me today beloved businesses within their community, they are job creators whose leadership has been paramount to our economic recovery.”


[…] Flag Hill Distillery & Winery owner Brian Ferguson said in the release that his Lee business had been spending its tax savings in recent years on new equipment and bonuses for all employees. With those cuts cemented, Ferguson, the president of the N.H. Craft Spirits Organization, said the bonuses will now become permanent wage increases.


“It’s been very effective for all of us,” he said.