Tax On Beer Depends On Your State

Staff Writer
History repeats itself - America once debated the tax on tea, but a recent look on the beer tax causes controversy.

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

America’s history had a major turning point when the favorite beverage of the time, tea, started to be taxed. As they say, history does repeat itself as we observe a tax on another favorite American drink: beer.

All states are not equal when it comes to the tax on beer, according to new research from CNN Money and the Tax Foundation. Although we all pay some sort of tax when purchasing the booze, depending on your state, it could be any where from one cent (in Wyoming) to 66 cents (in Tennessee) per six-pack.

A “sin tax” is a tax often put on an item that can be socially questionable, like tobacco or sugary drinks — or in this case, alcohol. Of course, sin taxes raise revenue for store that sells them, but the taxes also are aimed to decrease the use of the item. Often these excise taxes are paid by the distributer, brewer, or whoever is buying from wholesale, so the extra tax doesn’t show up on the receipt, leaving the consumer in the dark about the additional tax.

Some may believe the tax difference is minimal on a six-pack, but if you buy a pack once a week for a year, you are paying $32 more in Tennessee than in Missouri on beer taxes.

"The people who enjoy beer the most, those middle-class Americans, are feeling the bite of that tax more," said Joe McClain, the Beer Institute president, in March 2013, only a few months after the map was released. Hmm.. maybe there will be a trend towards home-brewed beer?

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