Larsen, Stivers Bill Would Support Growing Small Distilleries Industry, Create Jobs

Feb 27, 2015 Issues: Jobs Labor and the Economy

WASHINGTON—Small distilleries will be better positioned to grow and create new jobs if Congress passes a bill introduced today by Reps. Rick Larsen, WA-02, and Steve Stivers, OH-15. The Small Distilleries Fairness Act would help small distilleries compete on a level playing field.

“Innovative local businesses like our small distilleries in Washington state are working hard to make our state a leader in this growing industry. Our bill will allow small distilleries to invest more in their businesses, spurring job creation and encouraging new distilleries to open up shop. Because small distillers rely on local farms for their ingredients, local farmers also stand to benefit from this bill,” Larsen said. “Small businesses are the engine of our economy. They employ at least half of Washington state’s private workforce. Helping them grow is a key way I am working to invest in a healthy economic future for the Pacific Northwest.”

“My top priority in Congress is getting our economy back on track and putting Americans back to work.  I’m proud to co-sponsor this bill to provide more certainty on taxes for small business owners like Watershed Distillery in my district,” Stivers said. “Investing in local businesses allows them to grow our economy from the bottom up and create opportunity not just for Ohio, but for the nation as a whole.”

Washington state is home to more than 100 small distilleries, including nearly a dozen in the Second Congressional District, making it one of the top producers in the nation. Small distilleries currently pay the same federal tax as large producers, while small breweries and wineries pay a significantly smaller tax rate than their larger competitors. Larsen and Stivers' bill would cut federal tax rates for businesses that produce less than 100,000 proof gallons of distilled spirits a year.

“Reducing the excise tax on small businesses like craft distilleries is exactly the kind of smart investment that can help any start up that’s taking the risk to get up and running, while creating jobs and investing in the local community,” said John Lundin, owner of Bluewater Organic Distilling in Everett. “We’re taking a leap of faith with our expansion on the Everett waterfront, and additional resources would help us grow with more competitive pricing and expanded distribution. The craft distilling industry is a growth market and is becoming more popular with consumers. Reducing the federal excise tax would provide steadier footing for our industry, enabling us to contribute more to our communities.”

Larsen first introduced a similar bill in 2013.

Full text of the bill can be found here.