I have two views on this issue, first as a beer consumer. I think it is ludicrous that I, as a beer drinker, should be taxed strictly because I enjoy beer. This is unfair to me as a consumer and I personally think that if the government needs to raise taxes on something in order to generate additional revenue (to supplement all their spending), shouldn't all American's share this burden? A fair way to raise taxes would be for income tax to be raised which effects everyone and doesn't force beer drinkers to pay for our "sins". Although, it's my opinion that in this economy taxes shouldn't be raised in the first place.
Second, as someone who is working towards owning a brewery, I try to look at this from the brewers perspective. Lets say you were a small independent craft brewer. You have steady sales, but in this economic climate, things just haven't taken off. Then, you get hit with an additional excise tax on the beer you produce. This additional cost can not be absorbed by your business and you are forced to pass that cost on to your consumers. Some consumers see this price hike and go shopping for alternative beers to yours, thus decreasing your sales even further ultimately forcing you out of business. I have a hard time looking at this scenario and saying "it is what it is".
In the comments of Lew's post, he got into a deeper discussion on this issue and put it as plain as it can be!
"Are you telling me that if the government taxed, what, bacon that would be okay as long as people kept eating it and paying the tax? A tax on beer makes no more sense than a tax on bacon. So why tax bacon or beer?"
On another note, there is a great article (pdf format) from the Tax Foundation on the effect of cross border sales of beer due to sales and beer excise tax. I got it from J's blog. It's a long read, but very interesting. Enjoy!