Congressman Jim Gerlach Visits Iron Hill in Phoenixville
The representative was on hand to promote the Small BREW Act.
Cold ones were the focus on a hot day.
Craft cold ones, that is. Representative Jim Gerlach (R-PA) took a tour at Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant on Bridge Street Monday. Gerlach introduced a bill, The Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act, in the house that would reduce the tax rate on small brewers like Iron Hill and another local brewery, Sly Fox.
Mark Edelson, director of brewery operations with Iron Hill, is treasurer of the Brewers Association and was on hand to greet Gerlach. Part of the driving force behind the act was the potential for job creation that small breweries like Iron Hill have. Every time an Iron Hill opens, Edelson said, 85-90 jobs are created.
“It’s a jobs bill,” Gerlach said, noting that the Small BREW Act will stimulate economic activity.
“This particular bill is great because it puts money back into the hands of the small guys,” Edelson said.
While the industry has doubled in the last 15 years, craft breweries still make up only 5 percent of the beer market in the country. Edelson said the wine industry was miles ahead of the beer industry, but then the market made strides. Beer drinkers wanted more variety.
“It was the small brewers who stepped in to do that,” Edelson said.
While Iron Hill is a chain, the brewery won’t come close to the 60,000-barrel scale in the act. The Small BREW Act would half the tax rate on the first 60,000 barrels and a new rate of $16 per barrel would be enacted for production from 60,000 barrels up to two million barrels, according to the Brewers Association.
During Gerlach’s visit, Pete Giannopoulos of Sly Fox Brewery stopped by to chat with the congressman as well. Both Giannopoulos and Edelson praised the bill and said if passed, it will help out the growing industry.
A similar bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, and Gerlach was joined by Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) in introducing the house bill, which has bi-partisan support and a number of co-sponsors. The bill is headed to the House Ways and Means Committee, as it has tax implications, and Gerlach is a member of that committee.