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Brewers group honors Peter DiFazio, Congress’ small brewing champion

Congressman Peter DeFazio,

Congressman Peter DeFazio,

The Brewers Association, the trade group representing America’s independent brewers, gave its annual leadership award on March 27 to one of its own, Congressman Peter DiFazio (D-Ore).

The award was presented at the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, DC, which has attracted more than 6,000 attendees from America’s 2400 small breweries.

DiFazio first was elected to Congress in 1986, is the dean of the Oregon House delegation. He represents southwest Oregon, long known as the birthplace of the modern microbrew movement. Oregon small breweries have about 11 percent of the market share in Oregon, which is the highest of any state.

BA Chief Operating Office Bob Pease called DiFazio an advocate for America’s small and independent brewers. “He not only someone who walks the walk, but talks the talk. … He’s been our constant champion in the halls of Congress,” Pease said. “He is the ambassador of craft beer on Capitol Hill.”

DiFazio is co-chair of the Congressional Small Brewers Caucus, formed in 2007, which provides a forum in which members and staff can learn about the science and art of beer and brewing as well as the relevant business, regulatory and societal issues.

In accepting the honor, the Congressman described Congress as “pretty bitterly divided and dysfunctional,” he said,  “Craft beer and those who make and love it can help fix Congress and save America.” He said he hoped to pick up support for the proposed Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce (BREW) Act, which would reduce the tax on the first 60,000 barrels small breweries produce each year to $3.50 per barrel from the current $7 per barrel rate.

DeFazio is not only a beer drinker, but also an avid home. He also serves on a beer-judging panel sponsored by the Washington Post.

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