April 16, 2021

Seacoast Breweries Benefit from Tax Relief Pushed by Senator Hassan

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan successfully led efforts to permanently extend the reduction in excise taxes for craft breweries in the December COVID-19 relief and government funding package, and Seacoast breweries are already feeling the economic boost. Senator Hassan originally worked to extend these tax cuts in the bipartisan government funding bill in 2019. The Senator will continue working with members of both parties to support craft brewers and local businesses across New Hampshire.


See below for coverage highlights in Seacoast Online:


Seacoast Online: “This relief allows us to thrive:" Beer tax cut helps pump up Seacoast brewers

By Paul Briand


A permanent reduction in the federal excise tax on craft beer production means less money for the U.S. government and more money for local brewers as they climb out of the economic dregs of the COVID-19 pandemic.


“This relief allows us to thrive as opposed to creating a situation — especially in times like these when everybody is hurting — where your margins get dwindled down to nothing,” said Dagan Migirditch, co-founder of Liars Bench Beer and Bodega on Islington Street in Portsmouth’s West End. “It’s definitely a huge step in the right direction.”


The excise tax in question applies to small craft brewers who produce fewer than 2,500 barrels of beer per year. The tax, paid quarterly, had been $7 and was cut in half to $3.50 during the belt-tightening of the pandemic to reduce expenses for small craft brewers, who like others in the hospitality industry have been hard hit by health and safety protocols.


That halved tax to $3.50 is now permanent, thanks to legislation passed by Congress and signed late last year by then President Donald Trump. U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, was among the senators leading the push for the permanent reduction.


“New Hampshire’s craft breweries are an important part of our state’s economy and provide a vibrant space for locals and tourists alike to gather and socialize,” Hassan said. “I was glad to lead efforts to permanently extend this important tax relief measure so that our craft breweries can continue to serve their customers, provide good jobs to members of their community, and expand their operations.”


Brewers already pay a state excise tax on their beer production to New Hampshire, as well as their part of the state meals and rooms tax. They’re happy that an additional tax is decreasing.


“The permanent extension of the reduced federal excise tax on beer could not have come at a better time,” said Nicole Carrier, co-founder and president of Throwback Brewery in North Hampton. “With tourism and visitor counts way down, this tax relief helps us to keep fighting another day, while continuing to offer crucial benefits like health care to our employees.”


[…] Tom Bath, co-owner and brewmeister at the Loaded Question Brewing Co. on Islington Street in the West End, calls the savings from the reduced tax “a pretty decent chunk,” even for a small brewer such as himself.


[…] As people get vaccinated, as the social distancing constraints of the pandemic ease, Bath and the others anticipate a quick return to drinking beer and socializing.


“You can definitely sense the anticipation of a lot of people bursting at the seams and can't wait to get out,” said Bath.


At Liars Beach, the pandemic lockdowns brought a lot of uncertainty. Migirditch remembers thinking: “We might still be here, but I can’t say that for certain.” A Main Street Grant from the first CARES Act helped. The permanent reduction in the excise tax helps too, in a way, for Migirditch, helps beyond just money in the pocket.


“We need to pump oxygen into this industry rather than suffocate it,” said Migirditch, noting that brew pubs create jobs and bring character to neighborhoods, which in turn become appealing to the very young people that the state of New Hampshire is seeking to attract.


[…] C.J. Haines, executive director of the New Hampshire Brewers Association, recognizes and appreciates the general impact of a reduced federal excise tax, noting “small breweries can continue to invest in their employees, local communities, and growth of their businesses.”


"For the past several years, New Hampshire's craft brewing industry has been growing at a tremendous pace and adding hundreds of jobs to the state's economy,” said Haines. “Like other small businesses across the country, many of New Hampshire's breweries, brewpubs, and taprooms have been hit hard by the pandemic.” […]