Photo by vmiramontes/Flickr CC
In the new film Beer Wars, the nation's multitude of small craft brewers are painted as a collective David facing off against the Goliath of Coors, Anheuser-Busch, and Miller. But while Dogfish Head and Budweiser aren't about to stop competing for market share, when it comes to policy, the two sides of the beer world are surprisingly cozy.
Earlier this year the Beer Institute, which represents a range of brewers but is dominated by the industry's largest players, teamed up with the Brewers Association, which represents craft breweries, to form a unified front on a range of federal tax issues.
"The Brewers Association feels it is of utmost importance during these critical times that the beer industry present a united and coordinated effort on the federal level," wrote Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association, in a recent letter to members. "This is why we have teamed with the Beer Institute to help us represent our constituencies."
In February the two groups coordinated the introduction of the Brewers Excise and Economic Relief Act (that's right, the BEER Act), which would return federal excise taxes on beer to pre-1991 levels, from $18 to $9. Interestingly, the Beer Institute supports an additional measure in the bill--which has 6 co-sponsors for the Senate version and 190 for the House version--to reduce taxes even further for small brewers.