2009 is approaching with ridiculous speed, and many people are putting together their dreams and hopes and predictions for the new year. 2010 will bring with it new surprises and gifts as well as obstacles and trials, both in the world of craft beer as well as the planet at large. The happenings around the world affect us all on some level or another – and by happenings I mean political and economic and humanitarian and environmental happenings, not what the Octomom or Britney Spears are wearing while sleeping with Tiger Woods.
First on most peoples’ minds these days is the economy. Unemployment rates are at record highs, political infighting seems to stall important reforms, and good ideas get derailed by unrelated arguments and grandstanding. We all have our positions and opinions on nearly every issue, but at the end of the day we want the same thing. A job that pays us a fair wage or more, a place to live that is clean and safe, and good health for ourselves and our families. For craft beer lovers, one more thing gets added: continued brewing of – and access to – good beer. One might place that under “pursuit of happiness”, but regardless, it is a real and pertinent issue.
In 2010 we could very well see legislation introduced that will help or hurt our favorite American craft brewers. As supporters of the craft beer movement – and as citizens of this great country of ours – we have a responsibility to not only be aware of said legislation, but let our representatives know where we stand on these matters. There were some bills introduced in 2009 that appear to be shelved until someone takes them up again next year.
H.R. 4278 – To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a reduced rate of excise tax on beer produced domestically by certain small producers.
Obviously, these bills are all tax-related, but they are designed to help the small business owner (i.e. craft brewers). They are other bills out there, and no doubt more will come up in the new year. At the state level, similar battles are being fought over distribution, alcohol content, packaging, zoning, and so on. I encourage everyone who cars about their craft beer to find out what is going on in your own community as well as be aware of what is happening at the national level. These artisans provide us with the thing we love all year round. We owe it to them to support them in every way we can.
So let’s make 2010 the year we give back to those that give to us: the craft brewers.
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