Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Beer & Taxes

"Taxes" is such a dirty word and this time of year it's a particularly dreadful word. No one likes giving their hard earned money to The Man but it's a necessary evil (or so they tell us). Let's see if we can make the talk of taxes just a tad more interesting, like a look at the vast differences in beer excise tax rates from state to state.

For the visually dominated minds here's the story in picture form.

Image courtesy of the Tax Foundation
If that was enough, just know that the blue area in the southeast U.S. indicates the states with the highest excise taxes. That, among other reasons, is why you won't find me there.

It probably doesn't surprise you that those blue-hued states don't exactly have a big craft brewing history. On the other hand the two states with the lowest beer excise tax don't either - Wyoming and Missouri. Then we get to the third lowest - Wisconsin - and finally we're in a land that has been embracing beer for years. Colorado, another big beer state, ties with Pennsylvania, less of a beer state although it is home to America's oldest brewery, for next lowest. Then comes Oregon with the fifth lowest beer excise tax in the U.S., part of the reason we can drink ridiculously good beer at ridiculously low prices.

As the article points out there is little consistency on beer taxation with the variables of wholesale taxes, distributor taxes, sales taxes and a bunch of other taxes whose intricacies would put most of us to sleep thrown in. So what's the moral of this story? Oregon rocks. We make great beer. Keep drinking it.

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