Bill to lower TN tax on craft beers heads to governor's desk - WSMV News 4

Bill to lower TN tax on craft beers heads to governor's desk

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A bill that lowers the tax on craft beers in Tennessee seems on its way to being signed into law, and it's seen as a victory for small local businesses who brew beer and the consumers who drink it.

The proposal would mean some high-end, smaller craft beer makers could begin selling their products in Tennessee now that officials have voted to change the way beer is taxed.

"The tax on a six-pack of our beer will be the same as any beer," said Linus Hall, owner of Yazoo Brewing Co.

Craft brewers in Tennessee lobbied for this change, which adds a flat tax for every barrel of beer no matter what it costs.

"This beer market apparently is growing. It's certainly a small business here in Tennessee, and we've not been able to (grow) because we have had the highest beer tax in the country," said state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley.

Before, a barrel of beer was taxed at 17 percent, so more expensive beers - often craft or local brews - were taxed more than less expensive ones, such as national brand names.

The change comes as good news for beer drinkers who appreciate fresh, craft beer and want to see more of it statewide.

"It's always good, always an adventure, always fun. The commitment that these guys have to craft beer is amazing," said consumer Don Else.

"The immediate impact will be more local brewers will set up and expand," Hall said.

And with more small breweries starting up, it could mean good news for the local economy.

"Yeah, its good news. It means more jobs. It means more variety. It means pushing the craft beer movement further," said consumer Adam Jones.

Hall said the change could also mean a larger selection of beer imported into the state. Previously, he said, many out-of-state brewers drove straight through Tennessee on the way to states with lower taxes such as Georgia and Florida.

"I could see those larger craft beers start to be distributed here," Hall said.

The measure was overwhelmingly approved in the House on Wednesday after the Senate approved it earlier this week. It now moves to the governor's desk for his signature.

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