Craft beer sales and production in the U.S. are strong, and continue to rise. D.C. Brewers’ Guild head Mari Rodela told NPR’s The Salt, “There are more craft breweries now than I think there were pre-Prohibition.”

Of course, with all alcohol comes both politics and taxes. Currently, two bills are fighting their way through Congress that would greatly impact how craft breweries are taxed in this country.

How Beer Taxes Work Now

Currently, all breweries are taxed per barrel of beer produced, at a rate of $7 per barrel until they hit 60,000 barrels. Any barrels produced over 60,000 are taxed at $18 per barrel.

How The Two Proposed Tax Bills Would Work

The Small BREW Act, which is championed by the House Small Brewers Caucus (yes, that’s a real thing), would tax anything up to 60,000 barrels at $3.50 per barrel. From 60,000 to 2M barrels would be taxed at $16 per barrel, while amounts over 2M would be $18 per barrel.

Meanwhile, the Fair BEER Act would completely eliminate the current federal excise tax for all barrels produced up to 7,143. After that number, the Fair BEER Act tax amounts are exactly the same as those of the Small BREW Act.

proposed beer taxes graphs

Graph: The Salt

“That’s great,” you might be thinking. “Obviously the Fair BEER Act is the way to go.” Not so fast.

The other significant way in which the Fair BEER Act differs from the Small BREW Act is that it extends those tax benefits to importing beer producers as well. Bob Pease, CEO of the Brewers Association, talked to The Salt about it:

“Where we go different ways is that the BEER Act also allows for federal excise tax relief for companies that in some cases are not making any beer in the United States. The current playing field is not level.”

The Brewers Association has taken a strong stand on the issue, even creating this infographic explaining why it thinks the Fair BEER Act is not actually fair at all.

beer tax infographic

[via The Salt, Brewers Association]