Just as craft distillers did in May, the brewers association also went to Washington D.C. to lobby Congress to make permanent the two-year reduction in federal excise taxes that went into effect January 1, 2018, cutting tax rates for craft brewers from $7 to $3.50 per barrel for the first 60,000 barrels. While they were there, the brewers also advocated for increased funding for hops and barley research. Another important talking point, as reported by the brewers association, was to educate staff about the potential impact of steel and aluminum tariffs on the brewing industry. On March 8, 2018, the president signed a proclamation imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. According to the Beer Institute, a 10 percent tariff would cost the beer industry about $347 million annually. Brewers argued that the increased tariffs could put breweries at a competitive disadvantage since wine and spirits companies primarily package their products in glass bottles. Brewers informed members of Congress that the move could hurt the growing industry and hinder the temporary relief brewer’s felt from the recent excise tax reductions. See more here: Brewers Make Their Voice Heard in Washington, D.C.

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Just a month after Heineken settled with the California Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) for a case against the manufacturer participating in an illegal marketing scheme aimed at consumers, the global brewer has said it will focus its social media marketing more heavily on Instagram rather than Snapchat. The Drum reported the decision is based on the average age of the demographics of the two mega social media platforms. Heineken plans on doubling its digital marketing by 2020 and wants to make sure its marketing efforts are targeted to consumers well above the legal drinking age. Heineken based on its research believes that the Snapchat platform is “too young for us” and will instead focus on Instagram that has a higher age demographic. With regulatory agencies such as the California ABC cracking down on prohibited marketing Heineken appears to be taking the necessary steps to make sure not to cross a line that could be seen as marketing alcohol products to minors. According to the Brewers Association code, “Placements made by or under the control of the Brewer in digital media may only be made where at least 71.6% of the audience is expected to be adults of legal drinking age.” Instagram allows brands to restrict viewing to people older than 21, something which Snapchat only allows if the brand pays for an ad targeted to people 21 and older. By: Oren Cytrynbaum

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