State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Casey calls for lower taxes for small breweries

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 22, 2013 6:26 PM

Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

Pennsylvania's Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey is hoping to reduce federal taxes for small breweries and reap big rewards for the overall economy.

Casey serves up a heady brew when extolling the good such a proposal would do for the national economy. During a visit to Troeg's Brewing Company in Hershey Tuesday, he said such a proposal would generate more than a billion dollars in economic activity over five years.

"Harvard did a study on this legislation," Casey said. "It's rare that you can find a tax cut that has such significant bang for buck, both by way of economic impact and by way of job creation."

The Harvard study was underwritten by a national craft brewing association.

That didn't stop Troeg's founders from seeing the potential benefits. Brothers Chris and John Trogner started the company in 1996. Their beer used to be bottled by volunteers. Now the brewery employs 135 people. Chris said reducing the company's tax burden would help it grow even larger.

"It certainly would help Troeg's quite a bit continue to be able to reinvest - importantly for us, to build capacity, and certainly add a lot more people to help us continue to grow," Chris said.

Looming over the visit Casey made to Troeg's to praise the tax reduction initiative was the specter of the partial federal government shutdown, and whether it might be reprised next year.

Chris called the shutdown's impact minimal for Troeg's, compared to smaller breweries nearby. But he said it still delayed the rollout of a new beer because label approval was halted.

"Now they're playing catch up to go through the system. It can take anywhere from two weeks to 45 days to have the label approval process," he said. "In our instance, we were hoping to have a beer out right around Thanksgiving. That now we're expecting it won't be until probably around January or February."

That beer is a chocolate raspberry stout, called "Jovial," John Trogner added.

As for the federal health care law debate that prompted the shutdown, Chris Trogner's comments were circumspect.

"We're a little skeptical," he said, "but we're just not quite sure until we see it next year."

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