Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, announced that a total of $18.5 million to support breweries in Maine and across the country was signed into law as part of the fiscal year 2021 government funding bill. The legislation also permanently lowers excise taxes to help brewers reinvest in their businesses, employees, and communities.
“Maine is home to the best craft brewers in the country. In addition to producing exceptional beer, they are a major contributor to our state’s economy and a significant source of jobs,” said Senator Collins. “With the economic duress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, beverage producers have been under significant strain. The permanent reduction in excise taxes that I worked to secure—along with investments made in the brewing supply chain—are critical to helping these small businesses keep their doors open and their employees on payroll.”
Provisions championed by Senator Collins to benefit Maine’s craft beverage industry include:
- Permanent authorization of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) — The legislation provides excise tax relief to the growing craft beverage industry by making permanent a measure in the2017 tax reform law. Senator Collins was a cosponsor of the standalone bill, which reduces taxes, compliance burdens, and regulations for brewers, cider makers, vintners, and distillers. Earlier this month, Senators Collins and Angus King (I-ME) joined a bipartisan group of 55 of their colleagues in urging Senate leadership to include theCraft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act in the next legislative package.
- $15 million for U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative, which enhances the product safety and supply of barley and wheat. The goal of the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative is to develop as quickly as possible effective control measures that minimize the threat of Fusarium head blight (scab) to the producers, processors, and consumers of wheat and barley.
- $3.5 million for the Small Grains Genomic Initiative, which funds important barley, oat, and wheat research to improve quality and breeding.