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Sen. Charles Schumer promotes craft brewery tax relief during Sackets Harbor stop

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SACKETS HARBOR — U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer was in the village Tuesday afternoon to promote federal legislation that would cut excise taxes for small breweries, which he argued would boost business and job production around the state.

“Most of the craft brewers I speak to say if they get this” tax cut, “they’re not going to put the money in their pockets,” he said, standing on the deck of the Sackets Harbor Brewing Company. “They’re growing. They’re going to put the money into expanding.”

The legislation reduces excise taxes for breweries that make 6 million barrels or less of beer per year and during the production of their first 2 million barrels. For the first 60,000 barrels, the excise tax is dropped from $7 to $3.50 per barrel. For the next 1,940,000 barrels, the tax is $5 per barrel.

The senator said excise reductions could spell millions of dollars in tax relief for breweries across the country. Mr. Schumer contended the bill has bipartisan support in Congress, and would help create jobs and economic activity around the state. If considered with larger tax reform legislation, Mr. Schumer said there was a good chance the changes would be enacted.

The tax cuts for small breweries also have received the blessing of larger brewers like the operators of the Anheuser-Busch InBev plant in Baldwinsville, Sen. Schumer said, and he said he was told by the company that the promotion of small breweries would help the industry as a whole.

For Thomas W. Scozzafava, owner of the brewing company, the changes could create thousands of dollars in savings for his company, which makes several beers including War of 1812 Amber Ale.

Mr. Scozzafava said his company brews about 2,500 barrels of beer per year between its facility in the village and at a separate facility in Pottstown, Pa. If the tax rate were to go down to the proposed rate, he estimated he could save about $8,750.

“That’s huge for us,” he said.

He said the additional funds would help purchase new equipment and kegs that would help improve production. The company employs about 55 people between the brewery and the restaurant.

Sen. Schumer’s press event in the village to promote the Small BREW Act was the final stop in a day of travel that started in Buffalo and included stops in Rochester and Syracuse. Among the approximately 20 in attendance at the event were state Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, Hounsfield Supervisor Timothy W. Scee and the owners of multiple businesses in the village’s downtown.

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