New bill proposed to support Michigan craft beverages

Michigan ranks 6th in the country for having the most craft breweries.

A bill to support the craft beverage industry is being co-sponsored by United States Senator Gary Peters.

The new bill, called the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2015, would simplify taxes and save time for Michigan breweries.

Michigan ranks 6th in the country for having the most craft breweries.

Short TMs Brewing Company is one of more than 200 craft breweries across Michigan and produces around 9 million bottles a year.

"Right now the taxation system is so complex it's based off carbonation level what type of fruit is in the product the alcohol level of the product and there's a big flow chart on figuring out what tax you owe and no one really understands it, said Scott Newman-Bale, President of Business Development with Short TMs Brewing Company.

The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act would change that.

We wanna make sure that we are creating the environment that makes it easier for these companies to not only start but also to be very successful, said U.S. Senator Gary Peters.

"What Senator Wyden did out of Oregon was he took a number of bills including the Cider Act the Small Brew Act and packaged them together into one comprehensive craft beverage act, said Newman-Bale.

Newman-Bale says the act would cut in half the federal tax the government charges small breweries on beer and cider production.

"So you know if we get any sort of tax relief its straight back into the company," said Newman-Bale. "We hire people, we expand and it's pretty much an instant economic impact."

Newman-Bale estimates that impact would save Michigan breweries nearly $1.5 million a year, a $100,000 a year for Short TMs Brewing alone.

"We'd rather have some of that money being used to hire people to buy equipment to get their business started, said Peters.

If enacted, Newman-Bale says it would eliminate unnecessary paperwork and the need for breweries having to file tax returns every other week.

"It's pretty much a non-stop process, this eleminates that and actually goes to once every quarter," according to Newman-Bale.

Due to the number of droughts and floods across the country, Newman-Bale says pressure to hike pricing is high.

"All the pricing is definitely starting to go up and this would help pricing of the current levels," said Newman-Bale.

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