Featured Photo by Srikanta H. U
More than 150 distillers from around the country are gathering in Washington, D.C. July for the past few days, including today, for the distilled spirits industry’s 10th annual Public Policy Conference, co-hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA).
The conference will feature a series of legislative and regulatory sessions on key federal and state issues impacting the distilling industry. As part of the conference, craft distillers will participate in more than 250 congressional visits with their home state legislators to urge support for the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 1175/S. 362). This critical legislation makes permanent a federal excise tax cut on distilled spirits that was enacted in 2017. Without congressional approval, the tax cut for distillers will expire December 31, 2019.
Distillers will also discuss with legislators the devastating impacts that retaliatory tariffs on spirits exports are having on American distillers as they expand into foreign markets and the importance of their distilleries to the economic development of their surrounding communities.
Conference speakers include: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), co-sponsor of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (S.362); Senator Rob Portman (R-OH); Senator Jon Tester (D-MT); Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau officials; and Carl Hulse, New York Times chief Washington correspondent and author of Confirmation Bias.
“This is a historic moment for our industry as more than 150 distillers from 33 states descend on Washington to rally further support for this critical, urgent legislation,” said Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO, American Craft Spirits Association. “Without permanent and immediate Federal Excise Tax reform, the stability of this vibrant industry, and the industries that surround us – agriculture, tourism and the broader hospitality industry – are bound to be paralyzed.”
Distilled Spirits Council of the United States President and CEO Chris Swonger added, “These distillers will be delivering a unified message to legislative leaders on Capitol Hill at a critical time. The federal tax cut on spirits is set to expire at the end of the year and the negative impacts of the retaliatory tariffs against U.S. spirits products are mounting.”
Distillers attending the conference also will be showcasing their craft spirits at a “Meet America’s Distillers” reception on Capitol Hill for lawmakers and a “Spirits of America” reception for journalists at the National Press Club.