The US Congress today voted to extend by one week their deadline to approve a 2021 spending bill, avoiding in the short term a government shut down, but prolonging further the years-long anxiety felt by craft distillers facing a sudden and dramatic 400% tax increase as of December 31. A final vote is now scheduled for December 18th, and the fate of the craft distilling industry may well hang in the balance.

A critical piece of this year’s spending bill, as we’ve reported before (here and here), is the broadly bi-partisan Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CMBTRA) which, starting back in 2018, dramatically lowered the federal excise tax (FET) rate that distilled spirits producers pay, from $13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70. Since then, this temporary tax-relief measure has helped create jobs and grease the wheels of economic growth throughout the craft spirits industry. At the end of 2019, the tax relief law received a last-minute, one-year extension, which is now set to expire at the end of this month. And given the current state of economic affairs throughout the industry, stemming largely from mitigation efforts aimed at addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, a sudden tax-burden spike of this scale could easily put countless small distilleries out of business.

The extended CMBTRA is set to expire at the end of the year unless congress acts to make the law permanent. But it’s not too late to get involved. Find out how you can take action and contact your congressional representatives — check out ADI’s recent post in support of the DISCUS Day of Action here for more information.