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Beer Prices Going Up; Tax Code Hurting American Brewers

Don't worry, the news isn't all bad for suds in America.

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— Troubling times for bros hoping to catch the game at their local B-Dubs: Buffalo Wild Wings is going to raise beer prices, starting next month. The national sports bar chain says major brewers are increasing prices, and it has to pass the buck to customers. Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith told CNBC the "price increases typically represent 2 to 3 percent and vary by market." Smith could comment only on company-owned locations — roughly 50 percent of BWW restaurants — and said franchisees set their own prices.

— Boston Beer Co. founder Jim Koch says high taxes are hurting American brewers. Koch told a Senate subcommittee Thursday that the U.S. tax code puts this country's beer makers at a significant disadvantage, which has led many to be purchased by foreign-owned companies. Nearly 90 percent of "American" beer is now produced by foreign firms, according to the Wall Street Journal. But fear not, patriotic Sam Adams lovers, Koch told the subcommittee he has no plans of selling out to foreign investors, even though he's received offers: "The simple answer [is], it's just not who we are. Like Samuel Adams, our Patriot namesake, we were born in America, have grown because of the advantages available in the United States, and don't mind paying our taxes here in the United States."

— Even though beer prices are going up and the brewing industry is increasingly moving beyond domestic territory, the Beer Institute lobbying group wants Americans to know the sudsy beverage is saving America. Among the key points from the 2015 edition of the group's annual report: The industry employs 1.75 million Americans, brewers and importers generate $83 million in economic activity, and the industry contributes nearly $49 billion to the U.S. budget via taxes.

— Chef Maneet Chauhan, perhaps best known as a regular judge on Food Network's Chopped, is getting into the beer business. Chauhan has announced the launch of a new craft brewery, dubbed Mantra Artisan Ales, and it will open this fall in Franklin, Tenn. The brewery will include a taproom with 24 taps pouring six year-round offerings and an assortment of seasonal brews, reports Eater Nashville. Retail distribution will begin in Tennessee this year, with expansion to out-of-state markets planned for 2016.

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