LAKE PLACID - U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Bill Owens visited the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery Friday to push a new federal bill that could save brewers thousands of dollars each year.
The Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce (BREW) Act of 2013 would cut in half the $7-per-barrel excise tax New York brewers currently pay for their first 60,000 barrels brewed.
Any brewery that brews fewer than 6 million barrels of beer per year would be eligible for the tax cut, which proponents of the bill expect would save small brewing companies more than $17 million nationwide this year.
The Lake Placid Pub & Brewery produces 6,200 barrels per year, meaning the bill would save the business $21,700 per year in taxes, according to a press release from Schumer's office. The company also brews an estimated 5,000 barrels per year at a partner facility in Utica.
"Small breweries throughout upstate New York like Lake Placid Pub & Brewery not only brew great beer; they also pour jobs into the community," Schumer said in the release. "By cutting taxes for these small businesses, we can help grow the economy and put more New Yorkers back to work in stable, good-paying jobs.
"Breweries are the crown jewels of so many of our communities, and many of them have renovated charming old buildings in downtowns across the state. Putting more money back into these businesses will be good for economic development, good for jobs and good for upstate New York."
New York's senior senator, a Democrat, announced the Small BREW Act while standing alongside brewery owner Chris Ericson, Owens, town of North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi, Lake Placid village Mayor Craig Randall, and Lake Placid Convention and Visitors Bureau President James McKenna.
Owens (D-Plattsburgh), a member of the House Small Brewers Caucus, is a co-sponsor of the House companion to Schumer's bill.
"This legislation cuts taxes on an important group of small businesses, letting entrepreneurs reinvest their profits into their breweries and employees," Owens said in the release. "This legislation makes sense economically, it will help brewers make more beer, and most importantly, it will help create and sustain local jobs in a quickly growing industry."
Also in the North Country Friday, Schumer visited Wilt Industries in Lake Pleasant, which manufactures equipment and supplies for scientific and artistic glass blowing, and sells its products to the glass, semiconductor and fiber optics industries. The senator also visited McCadam Farms in Chateaugay and urged U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to defend U.S. cheese producers against European Union demands that names like "Parmesan" and "Muenster" only apply to cheeses produced in those European regions. The EU is threatening to block imports of so-named American cheese, and Schumer argued that this would be a huge hit to upstate dairy farmers who export cheese.
"Muenster is Muenster, no matter how you slice it," Schumer said.
While he was there, Schumer also expressed support for Cornell's application for a federal grant to train and provide technical expertise to small dairy farmers.