Brooklyn Brewery to Host Party Pushing for Law to End State Beer Tax

By Meredith Hoffman on May 22, 2012 12:35pm 

Kelly Taylor, who owns Kelso of Brooklyn brewery along with his wife, tasted a new Kelso Pale Ale from a fermenter in his brewery. Taylor increased his prices on beer by $4 a keg this week.
Kelly Taylor, who owns Kelso of Brooklyn brewery along with his wife, tasted a new Kelso Pale Ale from a fermenter in his brewery. Taylor increased his prices on beer by $4 a keg this week.
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DNAinfo/Meredith Hoffman

WILLIAMSBURG — Brooklyn Brewery is throwing a party Tuesday night to gather support for proposed state legislation that would end the new taxes on in-state breweries.

Since March, when a judge ruled that tax breaks for in-state brewers was unconstitutional, city breweries have been paying taxes that they claim will be passed onto customers at an extra $1 per pint locally.

Now, the recently formed NYC Brewers Guild — composed of the city's 11 small breweries — says it's time to pass the newly proposed law that would allow breweries to get tax credits for their sales, thus reducing their tax liability.

"We’ll be talking about the bill and hopefully demonstrating to people that without some kind of relief, this is probably going to lead to higher prices for beers brewed in New York state," said Steve Hindy, founder and owner of Brooklyn Brewery on North 11th Street in Williamsburg, where the NYC Founders Bash will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesday. 

Hindy said the bill, proposed by Long Island State Sen. Lee Zeldin, would provide local breweries with tax credits on every barrel up to 200,000 barrels.

"For the economic boom in this industry to continue, we must take action in response to this recent court case," Zeldin said in a press release.

But if the Legislature doesn't approve the bill before it breaks in five weeks, Hindy noted, breweries will be stuck paying the taxes all summer until state legislators reconvene.

"It’s a good start, but you know we have basically five weeks until the end of the session," Hindy said. "The clock is ticking."

Tuesday's party will not only advocate for the bill, but celebrate the unity of local breweries, he explained.

The $75-per-ticket event will feature dozens of city microbrews, along with food from Eataly Birreria and 508 Gastro Brewery.

The breweries in the guild are Bronx Brewery, Brooklyn Brewery, Chelsea Brewing Co., Eataly Birreria, Harlem Brewing Co., Heartland Brewing Co., Kelso Beer Co., Shmaltz Brewing Co., Sixpoint Brewery and 508 GastroBrewery.

"We think this is the beginning of a revival of the great tradition of NYC brewing," said Hindy, of the Brewers Guild.

"But at the same time we’re going to be talking about the impact of this tax ruling on these small start-up breweries and the more mature breweries like my own," he said, "because it definitely is going to make our jobs that much harder."

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