U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal may be a teetotaler, but he supports federal legislation which will help small local breweries, such as the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company in Bloomfield, get a tax break.
The Brewer’s Employment and Excise Tax Relief, or BEER, Act will allow small breweries that produce up to 60,000 barrels of beer annually see their taxes cut by half. Currently, it costs about $7 per barrel to produce a barrel of beer. If this bill passes the cost would be $3.50 per barrel, Blumenthal said.
The proposal lowers an excise tax that small brewers pay based on how many barrels of beer they produce. It calls for fairness for small businesses which are Connecticut’s future, Blumenthal said.
He expects the bill to pass this year.
“It’s a win-win for beer drinkers, beer producers, our economy,” Blumenthal said.
The Thomas Hooker Brewing Company is one of 23 breweries in the state that would benefit, if the bill passes, Blumenthal said.
The company’s president since 2006, Curt Cameron, said his brewery produces about 12,000 barrels of beer each year. If the bill passes, Cameron said his company would save between $40,000 and $50,000 per year, while breweries across the state would save a total of approximately $300,000 per year.
“We watch our pennies around here,” Cameron said.
The small brewery’s taxes are based on volume and most small breweries pay this tax quarterly, he added.
The money saved would be used for expansion of the brewery and to hire more employees, Cameron said. Hooker’s 12,000 square foot brewery could relocate to a much roomier 60,000 square foot location, he said.
In the past six years, the company has grown by 600 percent, Cameron said, so expansion is necessary.