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Lawmakers take up brewers’ causes

State House News Service / August 6, 2011

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Brewers would pay taxes at pre-1991 levels and the per barrel tax would be cut in half to $9 under legislation Senator Scott Brown said he is cosponsoring. Under the bill, the taxes paid by small breweries on their first 60,000 barrels produced would also be cut from $7 to $3.50.

Brown disclosed his support for the legislation yesterday during the annual meeting of the Beer Institute in Boston. The bill was filed in May by Senator Mark Udall, a Democrat from Colorado.

On the state level, Senator Robert Hedlund has filed legislation in response to an Aug. 1 Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission advisory that he says will force in-state breweries to obtain higher cost licenses by restricting small brewers from applying for a farmer-brewer license unless they grow 50 percent of their grains and hops. Under Hedlund’s bill, brewers could still operate under the existing farmer-brewer definition or could be licensed under a new manufacturer’s designation for craft brewers. Hedlund says his bill would streamline the licensing process.

Treasurer Steven Grossman, who oversees the ABCC, plans meet with brewers Monday to discuss potential solutions.