5 States with the Highest and Lowest Beer Taxes

By Josh Agate | March 13, 2012 | 0 Comments |
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The economy is still in recovery. So what is one thing that is on everyone’s mind? Taxes. Beer is not unique in this situation – taxes still impact consumption. The average excise beer tax per gallon in the US is approximately $0.31.  Only 17 states have a beer tax higher than the national average, which shows the obscurity of those states on the high end of the scale.

So who is the winner? Alaksa. However, Alabama has been receiving a significant amount of press recently for having the highest beer tax in the lower 48.  In addition, a number of other laws are driving brewers far away from this Southern State. 

Top 5 States – Excise Beer Tax Per Gallon

1.) Alaska $1.07
2.) Alabama $1.05
3.) Georgia $1.01
4.) Hawaii $0.93
5.) South Carolina $0.77

Key question: are resourceful beer drinkers on the lookout for cheaper prices? 

Alabama’s neighbor to the east, Georgia, has comparably high tax rates, but a significant tax drop off is noted on states surrounding these two.  This means individuals in Alabama and Georgia could cross state lines to find cheaper brews.  An evaluation of per capita beer consumption could provide some evidence to back this theory.  Gallons of beer consumed per year in Alabama and Georgia are 30.6 and 29.5 respectively.  The neighboring states of Mississippi, and South Carolina exceeded those consumption values with per capita consumption of 35.1 and 37.0 gallons.  With consumption rates in Mississippi and South Carolina approximately 17% higher, it seems safe to assume that there are a significant amount of consumers crossing state lines for cheaper beer.

One group is working hard to improve the life of beer enthusiasts in the state of Alabama.  Free The Hops is a grass-roots organization with the mission “to help bring the highest quality beers in the world to Alabama”.  Early victories by this group include raising the highest allowable ABV from 6% to 13.9%.  In addition, the Brewery Modernization Act allows brewpubs to sell on-premise.  While a few battles have been won, this group continues to fight.  The Gourmet Bottle Bill is currently with the House of Representatives and would allow for the sale of beer in containers larger than 16oz.  Craft breweries often package specialty brews in 22oz or 750mL bottles, which are currently outlawed in Alabama.  Also, while federal law allows for legalized homebrewing, Alabama state law currently outlaws the practice.  The Homebrewing Legalization Bill is currently with House Economic Development & Tourism Committee to determine if this bill will make it to the House floor. 

And because it is safe to assume the reader is interested, bragging rights go to the following states with the 5 lowest beer taxes:

Bottom 5 States – Excise Beer Tax Per Gallon

46.) Colorado $0.08
47.) Pennsylvania $0.08
48.) Wisconsin $0.06
49.) Missouri $0.06
50.) Wyoming $0.02

Maybe the Cowboy State should be renamed the Cheap Beer State.

Your Choice. Your Beer. Drink Up.
- Beer Universe

Josh Agate is a staff writer for Beer Universe follow him on Twitter at jagatelife

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