December 2015 the Cider Investment and Development through Excise Tax Reduction Act, or CIDER Act for short was passed by congress.
The new legislation updated federal tax law to make it easier for cider makers to increase the alcohol and carbonation of their products.
“It is nice to see these things done right here in Burlington…” says Senator Patrick Leahy.
CIDER Act passed by congress this pass December, and Leahy says the idea came from Vermonters.
“The way the taxes went on cider, if the alcohol content was above a certain amount you were being treated as though you were selling champagne. In the amount you were paying in taxes, it made no sense…” says Sen. Leahy.
“We were falling into wine categories, champagne categories. The result of this there is an excise tax bracket for hard cider…” says President Justin Heilenbach of Citizen Cider.
The new law saves companies like Citizen Cider money, by updating the federal tax law.
Before the creation of the CIDER Act, cider makers were paying $1-$3.50 per gallon in taxes. Today, they only pay twenty-two cents per gallon. A rather large savings.
“The taxes are lower, but it helps other cider companies come along. There will be a large base (of cider companies) that can be taxed…” says Co-Founder Chris Nelson of Citizen Cider.
Lower taxes mean more product can be manufactured. It will allow our local businesses to grow and put Vermonters back to work.
“The beauty of the cider industry is that it is very much regional. Different regions of the country grow different types of apples, and the result of that is different styles of cider…” says Heilenbach.
“We have grown two to three percent each year, over year since we started the business…” says Heilenbach.
And the word is Vermont is primed to become the “Napa Valley” of cider.
Citizen Cider employs 45 full time Vermonters, and produces 500,000 gallons of cider each year.
“Its a testimony to the spirit of Vermont as an incubator for business, and it is a testament to the cider industries growth…” says Heilenbach.
“They want to see me drink the cider on the senate floor but we can’t do that…” says Sen. Leahy.