Ohio Brewery News
Climbing Up That Hill
We love writing about Ohio craft beer and sharing stories from our member breweries, but that’s just a small part of what the Ohio Craft Brewers Association does. First and foremost, we exist to serve our member breweries and Ohio’s craft brewing industry as a whole. That’s a mission that often requires our two-person staff, our board of directors and individual owners and employees of breweries to advocate for our industry with elected officials and regulators.
Every year, the Ohio Craft Brewers Association and other state brewers guild leaders send delegations to Washington D.C. for the Brewers Association Hill Climb. Brewery representatives spend the day in hundreds of meetings with House and Senate legislators to discuss critical issues affecting the more than 9,000 independent breweries across the country.
Years of building relationships with Congress eventually led to the passage of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act in 2020, which recalibrated the federal excise tax for the country’s smallest breweries from $7 per barrel to $3.50 per barrel. Small breweries reinvested that tax savings into their businesses in the form of capacity increases, facility upgrades, new staff hires or offering benefit packages to employees.
This year, we stressed the importance of passing the USPS Shipping Equity Act, which would allow beer manufacturers to use the U.S. Postal Service as an option for shipping beer directly to consumers. In states where beer shipping is already legal – like Ohio – breweries have very limited carrier options: allowing USPS to deliver beer would drive down the cost of shipping by introducing competition in the market, as well as expand a brewery’s delivery reach to customers who are currently unserved by private carriers.
As our industry has grown, we also ask our Congressional representatives to help support adjacent industries that our breweries rely on. The Agricultural Research Service under the direction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture does crucial work for hops and barley growers, including development of new hop varietals and research into pest- and disease-resistant crops. By advocating on behalf of local growers, we can help to advance those industries in Ohio, bolster the supply chain for needed ingredients and offer consumers hyper-local beer options.
Unlike many things in our increasingly polarized political landscape, craft beer is a non-partisan issue. Beer has historically served as a unifying social force. Craft breweries are social hubs in their towns and neighborhoods, bringing people together from all walks of life. Breweries also actively give back to their communities through charitable donation and volunteerism. The positive and quantifiable impact that breweries have made by creating jobs and growing communities is something that benefits everyone, regardless of which side of the aisle they’re on.