WINDSOR, Colorado (CBS4) – The owners of local breweries, distilleries and wineries hope that the “Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act” (CMBTRA) will be permanently incorporated into the law as part of the proposed spending bill awaiting signature by President Trump. While many Americans are focused on paying an incentive, local business owners like Amanda Weakland are particularly focused on getting the CMBTRA passed.
Weakland is a co-owner of The Heart Distillery and High Hops Brewing, both businesses operated from their third company, The Windsor Gardner. The small businesses were all hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the two companies licensed to serve alcohol and food were hardest hit.
“We’re ready for 2020,” Weakland told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “We are 80% in the tasting room.”
Since many of their customers have previously purchased a few drinks while talking, the indoor seating restrictions have reduced sales.
“The bottom line is tight,” said Weakland.
Weakland said she had redistributed funds from her gardening business to keep the distillery and brewery going.
However, a potential nail in the coffin could occur in less than two weeks if President Donald Trump and Congress can’t extend the CMBTRA, which expires in late 2020.
“This has cut excise duties for small breweries, distilleries and wineries,” said Weakland.
The excise tax cut has been renewed annually since 2018, but Congress recently envisaged a permanent extension of the new spending law. An expense bill that the President refused to sign until more tax dollars are returned to the American economy.
Weakland said she was thrilled to learn that CMBTRA was on the expense bill, but was discouraged when she learned it might now be pending while other unrelated disputes are being settled.
Weakland said the CMBTRA expiration could raise their regular excise tax from $ 300 on their distillery products to more than $ 1,800.
“The brewery is double,” said Weakland.
There are many nationally known macro breweries and many more microbreweries in Colorado.
With days left to go, Weakland said she was keeping her fingers crossed that an agreement would be reached to help small business owners like herself.
She has already been forced to lay off many employees due to the financial downturn from COVID-19 and said an increase in excise tax would be detrimental.
“It would be a very, very long and hard winter,” said Weakland. “This bill is so important for small breweries and distilleries. If it doesn’t work, we don’t know if we can still be in business. That is how important this calculation is. “