Distilleries urge Congress to extended federal excise tax before facing a huge increase

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INDIANAPOLIS — Tuesday was a day of action for 12 distilleries in the state as they fight for more economic relief.

The distillery owners say some are at risk of shutting down and others could scale back if Congress doesn’t extend existing tax breaks.

As the clock ticks to December 31st, distilleries are continuing to do everything they can to avoid a 400% federal tax increase if the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act is not extended.

“Any increased cost across the board, that’s always painful for sure,” said Co-Founder of West Fork Whiskey, David McIntyre.

That increase could be on the horizon if Congress doesn’t act fast.

McIntyre says this federal excise tax has allowed him to expand his business and operations not only in Indiana but several other states.

“It’s been amazing because we’ve been able to add more sale people, more marketing people, bring in more folks on the retail side of the operation,” said McIntyre.

It was the same for Matt Lamping who is Co-Founder of 8th Day Distillery just down the street.

“It’s allowed us to hire seven new team members here and actually expand in our production facility. Buying domestically made equipment and continuing to buy grain from local farmers here and continue to provide support back into the community,” said Lamping.

For the last three years, many distilleries have benefited from this reduction. Now, the West Fork Whiskey and 8th Day Distillery in Indianapolis, fear that if it’s not extended, their goals of expansion could potentially go down the drain.

“It would be a challenge to recover from the hardships that the current environment has led us to have this year,” said Lamping.

The bill currently has more than 350 co-sponsors in the house, and 76 co-sponsors in the senate, including Indiana Senator Todd Young. Young plans to send a letter to Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer asking them to consider making this federal tax excise permanent.

Some are worried about Congress dragging their feet.

“We have confidence that it will go through. It does make us a little uneasy that it hasn’t yet,” said Lamping.

These next 30 days are crucial, so these owners have a final message to Congress and their consumers.

“There will be distilleries that close…support your local restaurants, bars, distilleries, and breweries, a lot of people have been hit hard this year,” said McIntyre.

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