New York State Breweries Hit with Rising Taxes

As taxes increase, so will the price of local brews

Drinking local brews just got a bit pricier for New Yorkers. This week, the courts ruled two tax exemptions for small brewers as unconstitutional, costing brewers and distributors thousands of dollars per year. 

The lawsuit came after one Massachusetts importer, Shelton Brothers, filed suit, complaining that New York brewers received unfair economical advantages from these tax breaks. The old law, reports Gothamist, meant that state brewers were exempt from taxes on the first 200,000 barrels brewed. The total cost for brewers post-ruling? About $0.14 more per gallon sold, and $0.12 more for each gallon sold in New York City. That means wholesale prices of a beer case would cost about $0.48 more, or about $3.50 more per keg, reports the New York Post. So costs for drinkers will likely rise as well.

The ruling puts new economical pressure on New York breweries — enough to make them want to move. Said one brewer, Tom Keegan of Keegan Ales in Kingston, N.Y., to the Post, "Doing business in New York state is hard enough. This makes me want to take my brewery and move to New Jersey or Vermont." In response to the ruling, Shelton Brothers defended their  business: "It’s just too damn bad that instead of lobbying to change the state law, they’re wasting time being furious at us when all we did was point out that we were getting screwed."