Proposed Increase of Federal Excise Tax a Serious Threat to Small Brewers and Your Beer Choice – Contact Your Senators Now

Got this in an email from the AHA.

Date: June 8, 2009

Subject: Proposed Increase of Federal Excise Tax a Serious Threat to Small Brewers and Your Beer Choice – Contact Your Senators Now

Dear Beer Enthusiast,

Small brewers are facing an imminent and extremely serious threat to their businesses. The consequences of remaining silent have the very real potential of reducing your choice of beer and dramatically increasing the price of any beer that you purchase.

The Senate Finance Committee in Washington, DC is currently considering a proposal to increase and equalize the excise tax for alcohol beverages as part of healthcare reform deliberations. This proposal would triple the excise tax for 4.5% ABV beer and impose even higher excise tax rates for higher ABV beers.

If such a proposal becomes reality, there is no question that many small brewery businesses will suffer, some will close and consumers will face higher prices and diminished choice in the marketplace.

The Brewers Association brewery members and leadership have been actively engaged in building the case against an excise tax increase, recently submitting a letter to the Committee outlining our opposition.

We need you to speak out now. Today or tomorrow at the latest.

If you live in the following states it is most urgent that you contact your Senator who is on the Senate Finance Committee:
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Dakota
West Virginia

If your Senators are not members of that committee, ask them to contact their Finance Committee colleagues and express their opposition to this proposal moving forward.

Papazian on Orval

orvalCharlie Papazian’s book, the Complete Joy of Homebrewing, was the first beer/brewing publication I ever read.  That was close to 20 years ago!  In that time, Charlie has come a long way in his career and I have come  along way in my appreciation of beer.  Today, among many things, Charlie writes beer articles for

I just stumbled across a series of articles he has written on Orval, a Trappist Ale from Belgium.  Belgian Ale has been one of my favorite beer styles in the last few years, but I don’t recall drinking Orval.  Charlie reports that Orval brews only one beer.  The only thing that changes is the date in which it has been brewed.  However, that is an important factor, since the beer characteristics change with age.  So, when ordering an Orval in Belgium, it’s common to request a particular age, as the bars, cafes and restaurants nearby the brewery will stock large amounts of the beer with the intent to serve by the brew’s release date, similar to the common practice with wine.  In the US, that practice is unheard of.

There is so much beer and so little time, but I must run out to State Line Liquors to buy some Orval.  I think they carry it!  :-)