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Craft brewers ask state lawmakers for tax break

By Sam Eifling / Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 6:40 p.m. HST, Feb 5, 2014

Hawaii's small producers of beer, liquor and wine would see relief from some of the nation's highest alcohol taxes under bills state lawmakers are considering.

Garrett Marrero, the founder of Maui Brewing Company, told to a Senate committee that he pays more than $2 to the state for every case of beer he sells. That's more than four times what his competitors in California pay and more than 10 times what he would pay in Oregon.

Marrero told lawmakers cutting the excise tax would allow small breweries to expand operations and add employees. He says the more beer the company produces, the more people it hires.

Marrero says 10 craft breweries operate in Hawaii and eight more are preparing to open in the coming year.

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