This week, Representative Mark Sanford introduced H.R. 6000, the Mead Equality and Definition (MEAD) Act of 2016. Mead is the fastest growing segment of the U.S. beverage industry, increasing 150 percent in the last year alone with over 275 producers across the country. The bill would relax the current regulations governing the mead industry to allow the industry more room to grow and compete with other craft beverage sectors.
Rep. Sanford released the following statement:
“A constituent back home in Bluffton approached me over the summer about the trouble he was having turning his award-winning hobby into a business. We spoke about some of the unnecessary federal regulations that he and fellow mead makers have to work around, and what resulted is the MEAD Act, which my office introduced this week.
“Current tax laws limit the ingredients of mead to just honey, water, yeast, and hops. These regulations are much stricter than those imposed on other beverage producers and are inconsistent with the way mead has been made for thousands of years. This bill would modernize an outdated law and give mead makers greater flexibility to experiment with different ingredients and styles, similar to what we’ve seen with craft beers and cider.
“It’s all too common that we see government stifling innovation. This bill is an attempt to push back against bureaucratic overreach, lift some of the arbitrary restrictions that currently govern the production of mead, and give mead makers more freedom to excel in their craft.”