Personal finance, retirement tax tips for new graduates
Memorial Day 2018: Remembering & making new memories

Beer excises taxes across the United States

Beers from my refrigerator Sept 29 2012_Photo by Kay Bell
A sampling of some of my favorite beers. Yes, this photo is a few years old (note the 2011 Christmas brew label), but rest assured, I regularly restock the refrigerator.

Across much of the United States this Memorial Day weekend Sunday it's hot. Very hot. We're pushing 100 here in Austin.

That's why many beverages will be consumed by folks out today at beaches, picnics and sporting events.

Tax collectors thank you for your thirst, especially if you're slaking it with a cold brewski.

Beer tax tallies: Beer drinkers annually make a $5.3 billion excise tax payment to state and federal governments, according to the Beer Institute.

In fact, says the trade group for the American brewing industry, taxes are the single most expensive ingredient in beer, costing more than the labor and raw materials combined.

An economic analysis found that if all the taxes levied on the production, distribution and retailing of beer are added up — this includes excise, sales and the state and local income taxes involved in the brewing and beyond process — they amount to more than 40 percent of the potent potable's retail price.

That's something to think about the next time you take a long draw on an icy cold beer.

That 40 percent tax level also this week's By the Numbers figure.

State-by-state beer excise taxes: As the 2018 unofficial start of the summer season approached, the Tax Foundation also parsed some beer data.

The Washington, D.C.-based tax policy nonprofit notes that in addition to the federal excise tax on beer, which ranges from 11 cents to 58 cents per gallon based on production, location and quantity, all 50 states and the District of Columbia collect their own tax on fermented malt beverages.

The state beer excise tax rates, as shown in the Tax Foundation map below, vary widely. They go from a low of 2 cents per gallon in Wyoming to a high of $1.29 per gallon in Tennessee.

Beer taxes by state 2018_The Tax Foundation

The per-gallon rate shown on the Tax Foundation map reflects the beer excise tax for a 4.7 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) beer in a 12-ounce container. However, 16 states have beer excise tax rates that vary based on alcohol content, place of production, size of container or place purchased.

Check out Katherine Loughead's post at the Tax Foundation's website for details on state beer excise taxes.

Then feel free to drown your alcoholic beverage tax sorrows with another cold one. Just make sure you have a designated driver!

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Jeffrey Ginsberg

I don't drink beer so I don't pay the tax. The theory of an excise tax is to discourage consumption for some public purpose. If there is no purpose there should be no tax.

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