Beer drinkers across the Garden State are raising their glasses and toasting a New Jersey U.S. Senator.

Flickr User Becca C

Senator Bob Menendez, along with several other lawmakers, has introduced the “Small BREW Act” to help fuel regional economies with a reduction in the excise tax on each barrel of beer crafted by small brewers.

“If beer – as some say – is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, then this bill would prove that Americans love craft brewers. It would cut their tax burden, allow them to hire more people, and create more artisan brews,” said Menendez.

He pointed out New Jersey is home to some of the best local craft beer breweries in the nation, and these small businesses serve as the anchors of many local communities, so it makes sense to help them create jobs and boost the economy.

Right now brewers generally pay an $18 excise tax on each barrel brewed.  Small brewers, currently defined as those that brew fewer than 2 million barrels of beer a year, pay a reduced excise tax of $7 per barrel for the first 60,000 barrels of beer they brew each year. The Small BREW Act would reduce the excise tax applicable to brewers producing up to 6 million barrels per year to just $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels and $16 on additional barrels below 2 million per year.

The legislation comes as we get set to celebrate American Craft Beer Week, from May 13th to the 19th, when America’s small and independent craft brewers are saluted nationwide.