Small breweries to pay less under new tax law

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

MARSHALL, Mich. (WOOD) — Small breweries across the country may be raising a toast to Congress and President Donald Trump because of a section in the federal tax overhaul that decreases the levies they have to pay.

Aaron Morse swore he’d never return to Marshall after college. He also said he’d never own his own business. He was wrong. He’s owned Dark Horse Brewing Co. in Marshall for 20 years now.

“I wouldn’t change it for the world now,” he said. “I love it.”

Though Morse says he doesn’t like to mix politics and business, he has kept at least one eye on the new tax law that Trump signed last month.

“It’s going to put more money into our hands that we can spend either giving to our employees, or more equipment, expansions, putting more people to work,” Morse said.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 included a small provision that cut the federal excise tax for beer in half. For breweries producing fewer than 2 million barrels per year, the tax will be cut from $7 to $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels produced domestically.

“For us, we’re in the 20,000 barrel range,” Morse said. “So, you take $3.50 times 20,000 barrels, that’s a good chunk of change.”

Morse says he hasn’t decided how to spend the roughly $70,000 he’ll save in taxes this year alone.

“I know that there’s that money that we’re saving that we can look at and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to save this much money this year, let’s add one more person onto the salary.’ Or, ‘Hey, let’s give three people a raise.’”

But don’t expect the price of beer to go down anytime soon.

“There’s something constantly always going up,” Morse said. “Very rarely do you see something go down. So, this is kind of nice.”

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