On May 16, the Brewers Association (BA) invited 134 small and independent brewers, brewery owners, employees, and state guild representatives to meet in the nation’s capital to advocate on behalf of the country’s small and independent brewing industry. The BA Hill Climb group logged 398 total visits, representing more than half the United States Congress.
The top priority for attendees was supporting the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 1175/S. 362) and make the current federal excise tax recalibration rates permanent. The federal excise tax is the federal tax breweries pay per barrel of beer produced. The tax is currently $3.50 per barrel and will double to $7 per barrel on January 1, 2020 if the federal excise tax rates are not made permanent or extended.
The legislation currently has the support of more than 200 members of the House and more than half the United States Senate. Hill Climbers shared stories about how they are using the money they have saved on the tax recalibration to reinvest in their businesses, hire new employees, increase employee benefits, and improve their communities.
Trade and tariffs were also key issues, with brewers discussing how current tariffs affect their businesses. Attendees also advocated for full funding for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and for hops and barley research funding for the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Services.
New this year were handouts discussing the United States homebrewing industry, the American Homebrewers Association, and the annual Capitol Hill Staff Homebrew Competition. The AHA has increased its presence among the nation’s leaders in the last few years through the Capitol Hill Staff Homebrew Competition and Homebrew on the Hill, as well as by pouring homebrew at the Brewers Association’s Hill receptions to members of Congress and their staffs, and now by participating in the Brewers Association’s annual Hill Climb.
During the visits, many staffers were intrigued by homebrewing and the competition, with some mentioning they already homebrewed or that one or more of their staffers homebrewed. Homebrewing is as popular on Capitol Hill as it is across the United States.
For more than a decade, the Brewers Association has come to D.C. to advocate for the small and independent brewing community, and now the AHA is embarking on a similar mission to advocate for homebrewers.
The day ended with a beer tasting reception at the Library of Congress for members of Congress and Congressional staff. Twenty-two breweries from across the United States served their beer at this event, and the AHA served a saison homebrewed by AHA staff.
2019 AHA Events in D.C.
Homebrew on the Hill
On November 1, 2019, the Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association will host a daylong event at which members of Congress and Congressional staff can help brew a beer with local homebrewers, AHA staff, and professional brewers. That beer will be served at the BA’s Congressional Holiday Reception in December. Urge your members of Congress to come learn about the process and politics of homebrewing. We will release more information, including time and location, as the event nears.
Annual Capitol Hill Staff Homebrew Competition
The Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association invite Capitol Hill employees to show off their brewing skills in the annual Capitol Hill Homebrew Competition. Entrants can collaborate as a team or brew on their own and reap all the glory. Awards are given for Best of Show and for first, second, and third place in each category. All Capitol Hill employees/workers may participate.