Drink Magazine

Beer Money: Brewers Association

By Bryan Roth @bryandroth
Beer Money: Brewers Association What's going on here? Read this post to find out. All charts below are clickable to enlarge.

Campaign finance, from 1989 through Q2 2014: $900


  • All time: $1,892,618
  • 2013-2014: $739,969
  • 2013-14 spending was 39.1 percent of all time amount

2013-2014 Cycle

Beer Money: Brewers Association Beer Money: Brewers Association



  • Since 2005: $1,764,840
  • 2014: $394,597
    Source (note that this website had different totals from the one above)

Contributions from the Brewers Association are obviously still fairly new, which is why the organization has fewer charts than others. The Brewers Association, which first spent money on lobbying in 2008, according to this site, hired its first full-time lobbyist in 2015.

Beer Money: Brewers Association

Via Open Secrets:

In 2014, the group spent $394,597 to lobby the federal government. Its second-biggest lobbying year was 2012, when it paid out $353,899. According to CEO Bob Pease, up until this year he and individual breweries have spearheaded the Association's lobbying effort.

For 2014, the lobbying activities percentage of non-deductible dues pertaining to tax returns was 14.9 percent. Based on the dues structure of the Brewers Association, it's a relatively small amount for most U.S. beer makers. That lobbying amount counts for $29.05 for brewers making up to 500 barrels and $43.96 for those making 501 to 2,500 barrels.

Legislation of Interest

As you may imagine, the BEER and BREW acts draw significant attention from the association, which also lists its position statements on its website regarding:

  • Transparency in Labeling
  • Transparency in Brewer-Distributor Relationships
  • Independent Three-Tier Beer Distribution System
  • Brewery Direct to Customer Sales
  • Alcohol Content in Beer
  • Franchise Laws/Access to Market
  • Independent Wholesalers
  • Excise Taxes
  • Underage Drinking & Driving Under the Influence

A couple points of interest from these positions:

  • "Transparency in Labeling" can be attributed to the creation or purchases of "craft" breweries by large companies. You don't need to look far for an example, considering the recent lawsuit brought against MillerCoors regarding Blue Moon.
  • The "Independent Three-Tier Beer Distribution System" position is a beast unto itself, but can mostly be seen in terms of in-state politics, where debate over self-distribution and brewery-distributor relationships can be a hot topic. It ties in directly with "Brewery Direct to Customer Sales."

Of the three trade groups included in the Beer Money series, the Brewers Association makes it easiest for individuals to get involved, providing numerous ways to take action on their website on issues like the BEER and BREW acts.

Beer Money series:

Bryan Roth
"Don't drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life." - Jack Kerouac

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