PITTSBURGH – Rep. Natalie Mihalek (R-Allegheny/Washington), along with Rep. Jeff Pyle (R-Armstrong/Butler/Indiana), chairman of the state House Liquor Control Committee, led the way in hosting a House Liquor Control Committee public hearing at Spoonwood Brewery to discuss a new “taproom tax” set to take effect July 1.
Representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, Brewers of PA, the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, and the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association were present to testify before the committee.
“Pennsylvania has a rich and diverse brewing history and our local breweries are an asset to our state’s economy – supporting hundreds of communities and contributing millions in tax revenue every year,” said Mihalek. “As lawmakers, we should be doing everything in our power to not be a hurdle that they must jump over in order to be successful.”
Of concern to brewers is the recent state tax bulletin indicating that breweries which bypass wholesalers and sell beer directly to consumers in their tasting rooms and retail storefronts would be required to issue the 6% state sales tax at the point of sale. In general, brewery owners have argued the tax should be applied at the wholesale level instead.
“The House Liquor Control Committee is open to all thoughts, the affected and unaffected, and today is a great example of that,” said Pyle. “Microbreweries have become a common sight in the Commonwealth, and we want to see that growth continue.”
“We have engaged in many discussions with industry stakeholders and legislators on this issue,” said Andrew Moser, legislative director for Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. “We are certainly willing to continue those conversations and to help those in the industry understand their obligations under the law.”
Moser added, “The administration also understands there is confusion and perceived lack of fairness and would support a compromise solution that is fair to all sides of the beer industry.”
Adam Harris, deputy executive director of Brewers of PA, also testified about the potential impacts of this tax policy.
“Pennsylvania breweries are a significant source of economic growth and tax revenues,” said Harris. “If the Department of Revenue’s new sales tax bulletin is instituted, it will have a significant effect on the brewing business.”
Harris continued, “…all we ask for is clarity and equality.”
PA State Representative Jeff Pyle
60th Legislative District
PA State Representative Natalie Mihalek
40th Legislative District
House of Representatives
Pyle: Abby Krueger
Mihalek: Brooke Haskell