Press Releases

DelBene Helps Secure Tax Relief for Cideries

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Woodinville, February 19, 2016 | comments

WOODINVILLE – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) today visited local small business, Locust Cider, to discuss the passage of tax relief for cideries.

“Washington’s First District is home to some of the world’s best cideries and breweries. These growing industries are vital to our economy,” DelBene said. “This important tax relief will help provide more certainty for small cider brewers and will encourage economic growth not only in this industry, but with local farmers and manufacturers as well.”

DelBene cosponsored the Cider, Investment and Development through Excise Tax Reduction (CIDER) Act to update the definition of hard apple and pear cider in the tax code by increasing the allowed alcohol content from 7 percent to 8.5 percent. The CIDER Act was included in the tax relief package Congress passed at the end of 2015.

The alcohol content of hard cider can fluctuate depending on how much sugar is naturally in the apples, making it difficult for producers to comply with the 7 percent cap. Allowing more hard cider to be labeled and taxed as such, rather than as wine, which has a higher excise tax, will allow more businesses to invest in expanding and hiring more employees.

Thanks to DelBene’s support on the CIDER Act, hard cider with less than 8.5 percent alcohol content will now be taxed at the same rate as beer, roughly 23 cents per gallon or 17 cents per gallon for smaller producers. Previously, hard ciders with alcohol content higher than 7 percent were taxed as much as $1.07 per gallon and $3.30 per gallon if it contained as much carbonation as champagne.

“Cidermakers have not been able to make cider at the carbonation level Americans expect, as typical in beer, at affordable prices because of the carbonation ("champagne") tax. Removing this limit also puts cider on a level playing field with beer. We can now make the cider that our customers want at a reasonable price,” said Jason Spears, founder of Locust Cider. “All of this will help drive increased production. We buy almost all of our apples from Washington state, as do other cideries, so this should benefit Washington from cideries to growers.”

DelBene has also cosponsored legislation to reduce taxes on all small brewers.

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