Tester talks taxes, brewing business during Bonner whistlestop

(KPAX) U.S. Senator Jon Tester visited with locals and the owner at KettleHouse Brewing Co. in Bonner on Saturday to talk about his bill to cut taxes and reduce regulations for small breweries.

The bipartisan Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act was introduced in 2015 and will expire at the end of this year.

According to the Montana Brewers Association, there are 83 breweries in the state, and four new ones in planning.

A press release from Senator Tester’s office says these breweries contribute more than 400 million dollars to the state economy each year.

The bill would cut excise taxes in half for small breweries on their first 60,000 barrels, and then lower the excise tax by two dollars for every barrel produced, up to two million barrels.

Tester said he’s not expecting much opposition.

“Well, what it means to me is that microbreweries and microdistilleries have been an incredible success story in Montana. I think this just helps them succeed and helps them move forward. Really bringing communities together, employing people, and having fun. That’s what it’s about. “

This bill has also been reintroduced in 12 other states.