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How beer excise taxes hike your tailgating costs

Tailgating_Ben Vardi_Wikimedia-2
Photo by Ben Vardi (Ben Vardi, Public Domain)

It's the three-day Labor Day holiday weekend marking the end of summer. It's also three straight days of college football games.  

So, of course, folks are enjoying cookouts and/or tailgating.

Both those events typically involve adult beverages, surreptitiously in the case of college football games, depending on where you're holding your "Go Team!" pre-game celebration.

Today's multiple Saturday Shout Outs welcome this convergence of the United States' most popular sport and Labor Day weekend.

First, there's the legal aspect of booze and parking lot football parties. Intoxalock looks at 5 Alcohol Laws You Need To Know if you're tailgating.

Then there's your brew choice. Everyone has a favorite. Mine's Dos XX Ambar, which should fit in with some of the beers recommended by folks who regularly combine the beverage and fall outdoor activities.

The Men's Journal list touts what it says are of darker, richer, maltier brews in its Best Beers for Tailgating and Watching Football. Uproxx went to bartenders for their suggestions on The Best Beers To Bring To A Tailgate This Fall.

Taxes and your tailgate goodies: Finally, this weekend's final Saturday Shout Out goes to — wait for it — the tax component of your tailgate.

Some states tax at least some food items, so that factors into the price of the treats in your cooler. If you opt instead to buy premade meals, those definitely carry added tax amounts.

As for your adult beverages, the Tax Foundation examines just how much of your brew cash goes toward taxes.

The Washington, D.C.-based tax policy organization notes that there are, of course, sales taxes added to six pack purchases in most (but not all) states.

Excise taxes on alcohol: However, the biggest tax gulp is federal and state alcohol taxes. Most states go straight to the retailer for beer excise taxes. They are collected according to the quantity of beer sold, usually expressed as a rate of dollars per gallon.

And while we can't see the actual excise tax tabulation on our convenience, grocery, or liquor store receipts, Tax Foundation policy analyst Janelle Fritts says "vendors pass along those costs to consumers in the form of higher prices."

The group's map below illustrates the various state-by-state beer excise tax rates.

Beer Excise Taxes by State 2022_Tax Foundation_1200x1125

Beer excise taxes range from a low of $0.02 per gallon in Wyoming, to a high of $1.29 per gallon in Tennessee.

Check out the full Tax Foundation comparison of beer tax by state for details. The piece also has links to the tax costs of wine and spirits if that's what you prefer.

Here's a toast to everyone's teams, unless they're playing mine!

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