1 chiefly Brit. a thing that is considered unimportant : even with $10,000 to invest, you are still small beer for most stockbrokers.
2 archaic weak beer.
Small beer – another way to say no big deal, small potatoes, mole hill vs. mountain. This is a timely turn of phrase because it’s tax day, and because there’s a “large beer” bill on the table that would lower the excise tax rate on small U.S. breweries.
The Small BREW Act, which was reintroduced into Congress this year following a dud session in 2011, is detailed as such by the Brewers Association:
“Under current federal law, brewers making less than 2 million barrels annually pay $7 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels they brew, and $18 per barrel on every barrel thereafter. The Small BREW Act would create a new rate structure that reflects the evolution of the craft brewing industry. The rate for the smallest brewers and brewpubs would be $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels. For production between 60,001 and 2 million barrels the rate would be $16.00 per barrel. Any brewer that exceeds 2 million barrels (about 1 percent of the U.S. beer market) would begin paying the full $18 rate. Breweries with an annual production of 6 million barrels or less would qualify for these tax rates.”
While the bill might sound ideal for craft brewers, it appears that most small breweries are not for a reduction in their excise taxes: one, because the craft beer business is quite good right now and they don’t feel right about taking a lower tax rate, and two, because they see who will benefit from such reductions: big “small” breweries like Boston Beer Co., the makers of Sam Adams.
BeerPulse has covered the Small BREW Act extensively and even did its own calculations to see which beer companies would save the most from a lower excise rate.