Rep. Young pushes for brewery bill to help local beer makers

POSTED AT 10:26 PM ON Apr. 16, 2012  (UPDATED AT 10:26 PM ON Apr. 16, 2012)


With Little 500 upon us, it’s as good a time as any to take a look at the state of America’s most popular beverage. The craft beer industry is booming nationwide, especially in the Hoosier state.

Rep. Todd Young, R–9th District, is cosponsoring H.R. 1236, the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act, which would help local brewers. The Indiana Daily Student talked to Young about the bill and beer in southern Indiana.

IDS Tell me a little bit about this bill. What is it going to do for brewers in Indiana?
TODD YOUNG The bill would reduce the excise tax rate that small brewers have to pay on their product. Lowering the tax will help more small breweries get off the ground and increase the likelihood of success. Once they produce at a certain threshold, that reduced rate goes away.

IDS Why beer? What makes the craft beer industry worth supporting?
YOUNG Microbreweries are an emerging industry, especially in Indiana. There are several in Indianapolis that have sprung up in recent years, Upland in Bloomington, Big Woods in Nashville and a new one called Twisted Crew in Seymour, among others. There’s a lot of red tape to cut through to get one of these new ventures off the ground, and I want to do what I can to help them become productive members of their local economies.

IDS Why did you, specifically, put your name on this bill? How will it help folks in District 9?
YOUNG Anything we can do, no matter how big or small, that helps create jobs and revenue streams is worthwhile. This is a simple way that I can help revive the economy. It’s a small step, but string together enough small steps and we’ll reach our goal.

IDS What is the advantage of supporting small brewers rather than big conglomerates?
YOUNG I don’t know that there is a specific advantage when you look at it from an economic perspective, but a level playing field always helps expand the economy.

IDS Here in Bloomington, Upland Brewing Company is planning a multimillion-dollar expansion that will help create jobs and put more into the local economy. Do those ripple effects have anything to do with your decision to cosponsor?
YOUNG I’m excited to see Upland expand, but my decision was driven more by the stories from other, newer breweries as they told me about the challenges they faced in opening for business. The red tape these folks have to cut through is mind-numbing.

IDS The bill has some pretty hefty support. What’s the likelihood of it passing? Is there a time frame for when it will go through?
YOUNG I’m not sure what the time frame is for when it might be voted on as we’re just beginning the budget and appropriations process, which will dominate the legislative calendar for the next few months. It’s something I’ll continue to push for, though.

IDS On a lighter note, what’s your favorite Indiana beer and why?
YOUNG  I’m a big fan of Big Woods Breweries in Nashville. The food at their restaurant is excellent, their beers pair well with the food and the owner is a hardworking guy trying to keep a business going.


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