Yes, there is actually a federal tax on beer. And yes, there is actually a change to it in the proposed tax bill from the Senate Finance committee.
The highly-controversial bill includes something that’s probably not controversial for readers of this site: a cut to the beer tax and one seemingly targeted towards craft brewers.
Currently, brewers pay $18 per 31-gallon barrel of beer. The Senate tax bill would include a temporary cut to $16 per barrel up to six million barrels. Interestingly, the six million barrel mark is the same number used by the Brewers’ Association to define what qualifies as a craft brewery.
Breweries that produce less than 60,000 barrels would only have to pay $3.50 per barrel.
Consumers would unlikely be able to see much of an impact. The $2 tax break would translate into a roughly 1.2 cents per 12-ounce beer difference, while the smallest brewers would see an 8.8 cents difference per 12-ounce beer if they qualified for the $3.50 per barrel tax.
The tax break would only run through 2019.