Craft brewers are a lovable lot. They're small business owners, who by the rules of our political discourse are the most hallowed Americans other than high school quarterbacks and marine infantrymen. And they make beer -- really delicious beer that's freed our bars and backyard barbecues from the tyranny of tasteless yellow fizz.
Being lovable, though, does not entitle you to a tax break. And according to The New York Times, that's just what the country's small (or smallish) beer makers are gunning for on Capitol Hill. A bill introduced by the House Small Brewer's Caucus — which a) somehow exists and b) has a remarkable 116 members — would cut taxes paid on each barrel of beer. Like a thousand less-sympathetic special interest groups that come hat-in-hand to Congress every year, the brewers claim their bill would boost the economy by allowing them to expand and hire more workers.
And maybe it would. A little bit. But that doesn't make this legislation particularly smart or necessary. Craft-brewing is already growing at a breakneck pace. Business was up 15 percent by volume in 2012, even though U.S. beer sales have been basically flat for two years now. According to the Brewers Association, the industry's chief lobbying group, 409 small breweries and brew pubs opened their doors last year. Another 1,200 are supposedly in the "planning stages." You'd have to squint really, really hard to see the strains imposed by taxes.