Friday, June 13, 2008

Micro Brew Tax Credit

This article from the New York Times on microbrewing in Ireland references a program by the Irish government to give tax credits to small brewers.

It's something that I have been saying the city of Milwaukee should do for years. So I today I emailed Milwaukee's mayor:

In this age of globalization, Milwaukee is no longer just competing against Chicago, Minneapolis, and Madison, but also Guadalajara, Kuala Lampur, and Tianjin. In such a light, it should be obvious that this "great place on a great lake," needs to sort out any competitive advantage it can get. In order to sustain the image and quality of life in Milwaukee, the city must continue to attract capital from outside its borders. For this reason, I propose the Brew City Tax Credit.

Few cities outside of Munich have the brewing legacy that Milwaukee does; indeed, the city is known the country over as "Brew City." Though perhaps cities such as Portland and Seattle in fact have more breweries in them today, still they do not command the name, nor will they ever command the history. It is a title that many ad agencies would toss out in an effort to attract tourism and market a city, but alas, Milwaukee already has it.

But what is Milwaukee doing with it? Pabst, Schlitz, and Blatz still cling to their Milwaukee heritage, but their presence in the city is long gone. Despite being the namesake of the Milwaukee Brewers' stadium, Miller has long been owned from outside of Milwaukee, and its new merger with Coors could further distance it from the city. Aside from Lakefront Brewing and the Milwaukee Ale House, there are few brewing operations left in "Brew City."

To attract both tourism and jobs, Milwaukee should actively encourage the development of small scale brewing within the city. The tourism ads would write themselves; a simple "visit Brew City" would obviously reference Milwaukee, no need to try to brand the city as such. Brew city buses could take people around the city to various brewing sites. The Summerfest grounds or Veteran's Park could host a Brew City Beer Tasting.

As far as the logistics of the plan, I leave that to you, the politicians. Whether it be free media for the brewers, property tax relief for spaces running such operations (a piece I consider essential), assistance with condemnation of suitable properties, or all of the above, I am no position to make those decisions. I am in a position to say that capitalizing on Milwaukee's history and heritage in a way to attract jobs and tourist dollars is a "no-brainer."

Digg this

No comments: