Craft distilleries hoping for permanent tax break before 2021

By Paul Joseph from vancouver, bc, canada (08-mar-31) [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Craft distilleries across Indiana could be in for a tough time next year unless Congress takes action.

In 2017, the federal government passed the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, which significantly lowed excise taxes on craft beer, wine, and distilled spirits. But, the law expires on January 1, 2021.

That could be a crushing blow to many craft beverage makers in Indiana, especially with the coronavirus pandemic to consider on top of that.

“Our entire business model changes with the lockdowns and just the way the pandemic has affected the country,” said David McIntyre, the owner of West Fork Whiskey Company in Indianapolis. “My goal is to never have to furlough or let any employees go, but a 400-percent increase is pretty substantial.”

McIntyre told WISH-TV the pandemic has made things tough and they tried to supplement their losses with curbside pick up and new menu options. Still, even with that, it’s not enough to make up completely.

“Paying that much in excise tax would cripple many distilleries,” he added. “And then you also see consumers suffer from the consequences of that because the only way to get through it would be to increase the price of all our products to make up for that tax.”

McIntyre, along with many other craft beverage makers throughout the U.S., is hoping Congress will renew the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act to make the tax cuts it provides to small distilleries, such as his, permanent.

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