Members of Seattle’s brewing community, including local brewers from Ballard, showed their opposition to the proposed beer tax at a protest in Olympia on Friday. The proposed tax, currently being considered by the Washington State Legislature, would more than double the current tax rate on beer brewed per barrel and has local brewers concerned about their future.
About 100 protesters arrived in Olympia on Friday afternoon to protest the tax and show the legislature what it would mean for the future of brewers in the state. “There was a strong, unified vibe among the brewers who attended last Friday’s rally. From larger and more well established breweries to newer, nano-scale operations the message was clear – we stand together in opposition of this tax,” says Amy Besunder from Ballard’s Populuxe Brewing.
According to Besudner, Hilliards, Bad Jimmy’s and Populuxe Brewing were at the protest representing the brewers of Ballard. “In all fairness, when you are running a small-scale brewery, getting time away even for important advocacy efforts is a challenge. Most of us are one-man or two-man operations,” said Besunder.
In terms of the impact of the protest Besunder says, “I would like to think that legislators gained a greater understanding of the impact of this tax – that they see that this would limit job creation in an industry that is thriving and in some cases actually force small businesses to shut their doors.” She also emphasized that Washington brewers are not opposed to funding education. “We are for funding education, building strong communities, and creating jobs. But the numbers don’t add up and this tax won’t close the funding gap. It will only jeopardize jobs and impede an industry our state should be supporting,” says Besunder.
Check out the photos from Friday’s protest emailed to us by Besunder. We will keep readers updated with the progress of the proposed beer tax in the Washington State Legislature, which is set to be decided upon by the end of the month.