Walden visits Ordnance, talks brewing tax cuts

Congressman Greg Walden, left, learns about the brewing process from brewer Logan Mayfield and owner Craig Coleman of Ordnance Brewing Company. Walden visited the brewery on Wednesday morning.

Cold beer and conservation of funds — that’s what Congressman Greg Walden hopes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will accomplish for small breweries in Oregon. Walden stopped by Ordnance Brewing Company in Boardman last week to tour the facility and discuss the federal excise tax cut, passed in 2017, which contains a provision that he said will benefit craft brewers.

“The tax bill we passed cuts the excise tax on brewers in half,” Walden said. “It took it from $7 to $3.50 (per barrel).”

Ordnance owners Craig and Janna Coleman, who showed Walden around the brewery and distillery, said they’re happy with any extra funds they’re able to put toward their business.

“We spend every dime we get our hands on on marketing,” Craig said.

The Colemans started Ordnance Brewing in 2014, and have been farmers for many years. They use their own blueberries in the beer. Much of the product that isn’t grown on their farm is sourced from family and friends, Craig said.

Janna said they have begun to see some positive returns.

“Any help is good,” she said. “It frees up money to spend elsewhere — for expansion, production and payroll.”

Ordnance employs about 25 people, Craig said, between its brewing staff, salespeople and its taproom staff in Boardman, Hermiston and Wilsonville.

Walden said he was excited to see the progress of the local brewery.

“This is the American entrepreneurial dream,” he said. “For Oregon, with our incredible agricultural base, we’ve always worked to figure out, how do we get value out of raw product by making it something else? Can we take what we do well, and get value added from that? That’s what’s happening here.”

Aside from the tax cut, Walden said he would like to make other processes for breweries more streamlined, especially in their dealings with the Tax and Trade Bureau.

“Part of it is regulatory overhang, how long it takes to get permits,” he said. “We still have more work to do there. We need to figure out what the hangup is.”

On this trip, Walden also met with members of the Wal-Mart Distribution Center to discuss how the tax cut had impacted them.

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