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Four members of Congress from Washington have introduced a bill that would reduce the federal tax rate small distilleries pay.

Currently, the distilleries pay the same rate as large liquor manufacturers, who dominate the market. The bill would reduce the amount paid by a craft distiller by 80 percent.

Small breweries and wineries pay a lower rate than their large competitors, according to supporters of the new Small Distilleries Fairness Act, written by Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens, and co-sponsored by Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina; Denny Heck, D-Olympia, and Jim McDermott, D-Seattle.

Washington has more than 60 craft distilleries, up from zero in 2008, when the Legislature passed a law allowing small distilleries to open tasting rooms and sell limited amounts of liquor.

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Larsen is pitching the bill as a job creator, saying it will encourage people to open new distilleries and allow existing craft distillers to invest in their businesses.

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or Twitter @AllisonSeattle.

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