Dowd On Drinks: Addressing The State Of Our Whiskey

Jun 20, 2009

On the surface, America’s distillers are waging a heated competition for the favor of consumers.

Below the surface, their representatives are waging an even more heated battle against moves by numerous states to bring in more revenue to offset shortages caused by the current economic malaise.

A few examples of the latter:

– The state of Washington this summer will raise liquor prices in a move to increase declining state revenues. The current markup on liquor sold in the state is 39.2 percent. Under the new rules, it will be 51.9 percent. The action is in response to the state $9 billion budget deficit.

– The Indiana state legislature is considering doubling the excise tax on alcohol. If it does, it will make the state’s tax rate 34 percent higher than the national average.

– Consumers are about to be hit with an additional 50-cent tax on every bottle of distilled spirits purchased in Oregon. That state’s Liquor Control Commission approved the surcharge to help ease the pressure on the state treasury.

– In Kentucky, the nation’s leading whiskey-making area, a recent protest against a proposed 6 percent sales tax on all spirits drew a parade of industry and distillery officials. They stood shoulder-to-shoulder and poured spirits on the state capitol’s front steps as delivery trucks circled the Capitol building all that morning.

However, the industry is persevering on numerous fronts.

Read the full article at FCNB HERE.