GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

Tax cut for breweries set to expire at the end of 2019

Green Bay Area Regional News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — A federal tax break that benefited breweries is set to expire on December 31, 2019.

The tax bill was passed in December 2017, and cut a federal tax imposed on each barrel produced by brewers from $7 to $3.50.

“It did help us,” Brad Stillmank, Owner and Brewer at Stillmank Brewery in Green Bay said, “you know, accelerate our growth to where we are now.”

Stillmank added that his brewery currently produces between 1,500 and 2,000 barrels of beer annually, meaning that with the tax cuts, his business is saving almost $7,000 every year.

He explained that breweries are still taxed in other ways, despite the cut, “We’re still responsible for paying all the other taxes that any other business would have to, this is just a tax that’s above and beyond for our particular business segment.”

Michael Scanzello, Director of Brewing and Distilling at Briess Malt & Ingredients told Local 5 that he’s seen many area breweries benefit from the tax break over the past two years.

“It really put the small brewer on a much more competitive footing with the corporate brewers,” he said. “We’ve seen some great growth in the industry with these small brewers, and I feel that these tax cuts have helped drive that growth.”

In February, Rep. Ron Kind (D – Wisconsin) introduced a bill that would make the tax cuts permanent. Since then, nothing has changed with the legislation.

Stillmank says that over the past two years, he has been able to invest more in his business and the community, evening hiring extra personnel as a result of the tax breaks.

“For the last two years we’ve been doing our best to take advantage of the opportunity that we have had with that,” he explained, “and we have grown our company and we have added employees.”

Without the tax cuts, Scanzello told Local 5 he worries that that kind of growth will falter across the area, including in businesses that supply local breweries.

“Cleaning chemical companies, hop purveyors, or equipment manufacturers are all going to be impacted by anything that’s going to stunt the growth in the industry,” he said.

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