US Congressman Jason Smith (MO-8) toured Piney River Brewing Company in Bucyrus on Monday afternoon, March 30.
It was Smith’s first visit to a craft brewery in his district, but he expressed familiarity with Piney River’s products.
Brian and Joleen Durham, co-founders and brewery owners, guided the tour at the BARn, the 75-year old barn where the beer has been brewed since the brewery began in 2011. The BARn is located on the Durham’s 80-acre farm in the South Central Missouri Ozarks.
From the brewhouse through the canning line to the cooler storing cans and kegs of Piney River beer, the Durham’s explained brewing daily operations of the brewery from brewing to packaging to shipping to distributors.
Smith and his aides toured the concrete floor of the 12,000 square foot building under construction for a new brewhouse, packaging line and cold storage. The new production facility is slated for completion in the spring.
In 2014, Piney River produced almost 1,800 barrels of beer, and hit maximum capacity for their current facility. The new brewing facility will allow the brewery to produce up to 9,000 barrels of beer at maximum capacity.
Piney River employs two brewers and five employees that assist with brewing, packaging and tap room operations. An additional full-time brewer will begin at the brewery in May.
“Right now, everything we make we are reinvesting back into the brewery,” Brian Durham told Smith.
The Durham’s asked Smith to consider co-sponsoring the Small Brewer Workforce Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (Small BREW Act, HR 232), a recalibration of the beer excise tax.
Smith is in favor of reducing excise taxes for small brewers.
“The number of craft breweries are growing across Missouri and across the nation,” Durham said. “The time has come help these small breweries grow by reducing the excise taxes on what they produce.”