Congressional Reps Tour Virginia Distilleries to Talk Federal Tax Reform

Media Contacts: 
Amy Ciarametaro
Virginia Distillers Association
Cell: 757.535.5829

Efforts demonstrate potential impact of Federal Excise Tax reform on Virginia Jobs, Virginia Tourism and Virginia Agriculture.

Richmond, VA (September 26, 2017) – For Virginia’s craft distillers, Tax Reform is not just a plank in a political platform, but an issue that is critical to the future of the industry. To bring the point home, members of the Virginia Distillers Association partnered with the Distilled Spirits Council to host Virginia Congressional representatives for tours and tastings at distilleries all across the state in an effort to inform legislators on the ways in which craft distillers will reinvest tax dollars into the Commonwealth through tax reform.

“Local distillery tours educate members of Congress about the important role these small businesses play in creating jobs, boosting tourism and supporting agriculture,” said Distilled Spirits Council President & CEO Kraig R. Naasz.  “Lawmaker visits afford distillers an opportunity to demonstrate how the excessive tax burden on distilled spirits negatively impacts their businesses and communities, while urging support for our federal excise tax reduction bill, the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 747/S.236).”

On August 23rd, Congressman Tom Garrett, who is one of the co-sponsors of the bill visited Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville.  “Over the past several years, the fifth district has uniquely benefited by becoming home to numerous craft distilleries,” said Congressman Garrett.  “These have led to hundreds of well-paying jobs and attracted thousands of visitors each year. H.R .747 alleviates an over burdensome tax code and allows these dollars to stay at home.” During the visit, the Congressman asked questions about how federal excess tax on distilled spirits affects the growth and sustainability for Virginia craft distilleries. “Congressman Garret clearly cares about serving his constituents,” said Rick Wasmund, Master Distiller, Copper Fox Distillery.  “Through our discussion we were able to make it clear that tax relief as proposed will lead to increased expansion of our enterprise, more and better employment opportunities and greatly increase our chances of long term success.”

Congressman Scott Taylor joined Virginia distillers for a tour and sit-down at Chesapeake Bay Distillery in Virginia Beach on August 28th. “Virginia distilleries represent an industry that can be a much greater economic generator for the Commonwealth,” said Congressman Scott Taylor.  “As a co-sponsor of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, I believe in softening some of the excessive economic burdens faced by Virginia distilleries, so the industry can expand. These guys are supporters of Virginia jobs, Virginia tourism and Virginia agriculture.”  Chris Richeson is a managing member for Chesapeake Bay Distillery and expressed that FET reform is essential to the growth of our craft industry. Richeson elaborated, “Reducing the federal excise tax will free cash flow to spur further capital investment, allow for marketing dollars to promote our products and industry, and provide for payroll increases to our incredibly hardworking staff.”

The last visit for the tour is scheduled with Congressman Bob Goodlatte, on October 2nd at the River Hill Distillery in Luray. Media are welcomed to attend. Please RSVP per the below instructions. In addition, below you will find additional information on the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act.

MEDIA ALERT: Congressman Bob Goodlatte will be visiting River Hill Distillery
When: Monday, October 2, 2017, 12-1pm.
Address: 356 Ruffners Ferry Rd, Luray, VA 22835.
RSVP: Media partners should RSVP in advance to Amy Ciarametaro (

Overview of the Proposed FET Reform / Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act:
The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R.-747 / S.-236) is intended to create fair and equitable federal tax structure for distillers if passed. The proposed legislation will reduce FET burdens for distillers to as follows:

  • Establishing a reduced rate of $2.70 per proof gallon for the first 100,000 proof gallons of distilled spirits produced or imported annually for spirits.
  • Establishing a rate of $13.34 per proof gallon for the next 22,130,000 proof gallons of distilled spirits.
  • Keeping the excise tax rate of $13.50 per proof gallon for production in excess of 22,230,000 proof gallons.


ABOUT THE VIRGINIA DISTILLERS ASSOCIATION (VDA): The VDA is a nonprofit private trade association focused on the regulatory and legislative needs of the industry; as well as promotional efforts to increase awareness of Virginia’s growing craft spirits industry.