Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Beer Taxes

I've been reading a lot of blog posts and articles online lately (here, here and here) that have to do with the issue of beer excise tax and the governments proposal to raise it. Like the authors of these posts, I strongly disagree with the notion of raising the beer excise tax.

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!


1 comment:

Rob said...

Jason, I have to agree. I consider myself to be a pretty moderate guy when it comes to politics, but this is rediculous. A "sin tax" as they're called are designed to curb behaviors that are deemed to be inappropriate or unwelcome. If this same type of tax happened in Germany, there would be mass public outcry. If you tax wine like this in France, plan on a brand new Bastille day. Also, is it not bad enough that a sixpack of a decent tasting beer can cost as much as $12-$15 already due to the hop and more recent grain crisis of 08/09? It's positively ludicrous. In an economy like this, it's been proven that cyclical products such as McDonald's and Budwiser are bought by ordinary Americans as a small reward for a hard weeks work. Why then is it that you would put a tax on the one thing we look forward to after sweating through a week of jobs which we are frankly lucky to have? Overall, the attitudes towards alcohol in this country stinks... Tea-totalers make it seem like beer is the devil and binge drinkers give legitimate enjoyers of suds a bad name. We can't win in here in the States... I'm moving to Belgium, the beer flows like wine and there's all the bratwurst I can stomach... Peace out US of A!