Tennessee: House Subcommittee Advances Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013

Discussion in 'South' started by Todd, Mar 13, 2013.

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  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,384) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Subscriber

    First legislative vote is 7-1 to rein in Tennessee’s sky high beer tax rate

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The House Local Subcommittee today approved a reform proposal that would slow the growth of Tennessee’s highest-in-the-nation beer tax.

    By a 7-1 vote, the committee advanced legislation that will change Tennessee’s 1950s era price-based wholesale tax on beer to a volume-based calculation. Current policy has led Tennessee to have the nation’s highest effective beer rate, 12 percent higher than No. 2 Alaska.

    The rate will rise higher and higher every year – a fact that led Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) to sponsor the Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013.

    “Today was an important step towards reforming a tax that is working against Tennessee,” said Sexton. “The current tax rate is punishing businesses by hindering their growth and making it hard to do business in this state. The subject may be beer, but the issue is an outdated tax structure.”

    Next up for the Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 are Senate and House committee votes the week of March 18.

    A coalition of statewide supporters has emerged to back the reform proposal. The group includes the state’s large distributors, crafter brewers and consumers. The group has held large rallies in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Tri-Cities, with over 1,000 Tennesseans turning out.

    “It’s time to fix the beer tax to reflect the modern marketplace, which includes growth of craft brewers, to encourage rather than discourage economic investment, and to have a pro-growth policy for businesses like mine,” said Linus Hall, President of the Craft Brewers Guild and Owner of Yazoo Brewery in Nashville.

    The campaign is on the Web at http://www.fixthebeertax.com; on Facebook at http://www.facebook/fixthebeertax; and on Twitter at @fixthebeertax.

  2. TheBeerAlmanac

    TheBeerAlmanac Savant (967) Mar 3, 2011 Kentucky
    Beer Trader

    Now if they could only fix those crazy ABV limit laws.
  3. MikeEhrmantraut

    MikeEhrmantraut Initiate (0) Aug 28, 2012 Tennessee

    My life would be so much easier if we could sell everything in the same store.
  4. TravisSaps

    TravisSaps Initiate (129) Feb 3, 2007 Tennessee

    I believe someone in the General Assembly tried to add an amendment to the recent "wine in grocery stores" bill that would have also allowed high gravity beer to be sold in grocery stores. Of course, the wine bill never made it out of committee and is now dead so that is all mute now. But if anyone has more information/details on that amendment I would love to hear it.
  5. Bcarson7287

    Bcarson7287 Initiate (0) Sep 7, 2012 California

    I heard the same thing about stores being able to sell higher gravity beers along with wine. Too bad this didnt get further!
  6. Bartinator

    Bartinator Initiate (0) Jul 12, 2011 Tennessee

    Maybe something will come from this...sucks having to travel in order to buy new beer.
  7. Scott_Anderson_

    Scott_Anderson_ Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2014 Tennessee
    Beer Trader

    The liquor laws in TN are some of the craziest I've ever seen, especially coming from the west coast. Hopefully, the wine bill will pass but the politics are so backwards here I am doubtful.
  8. memphischas

    memphischas Zealot (514) Apr 15, 2008 Tennessee

    Wine bill passed. Waiting till 2015......
  9. rangerred

    rangerred Poo-Bah (1,599) Dec 20, 2006 Tennessee

    The abv limit for "beer" was also increased to about 10.2% so stronger beers will be available in grocery stores. However this doesn't happen until 2017.
  10. Scott_Anderson_

    Scott_Anderson_ Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2014 Tennessee
    Beer Trader

    Yes, it is two separate initiatives. I guess the vendors (Kroger, Food Lion, etc.) were aiming for a cap around 11% but got shot down. They still see the increase as a victory, and it is, or will be in 3 years, but it just reinforces the absurdity of politics in this state. The liquor stores have a monopoly on wine and beer and will go to any length ($) to protect that. Unfortunately, people who have lived here all their life think nothing of it because it is all they know.
    CaptainPiret and rangerred like this.
  11. ColonelCash

    ColonelCash Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2011 Tennessee

    Well, 10.2% is better than what we have now. Not sure I know any beers that are between 10.2%-11%, to be honest. At least nothing I drink.
  12. Scott_Anderson_

    Scott_Anderson_ Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2014 Tennessee
    Beer Trader

    Many barrel aged beers actually go above 10.2%, but that is not the point; it is about having a free and competitive market. So long as the liquor stores have a monopoly on everything above a certain percent, expect to pay an astronomical amount for those items. They drive up the prices because they can and because you simply cannot purchase those items anywhere else.
  13. ColonelCash

    ColonelCash Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2011 Tennessee

    Alright, I get that, although the barrel aged stuff falls into the "stuff I don't drink" category. While no limits would be ideal, I think this is a step in the right direction. Although, I don't totally agree with your astronomical amount for items line though. While there is a markup, don't expect grocery stores to start selling BCBS for $5. We have more markets, but the same folks passing along the products. If anything you are more likely to see liquor store prices to go up after this goes into effect. Lastly, don't expect Kroger and Publix to get the barrel aged goodies you are seeking, regardless of the alcohol limit laws.
  14. Scott_Anderson_

    Scott_Anderson_ Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2014 Tennessee
    Beer Trader

    You are still missing the point... Corporate hegemony. Would I be wrong by guessing you are from TN and have lived here your entire life?
  15. cherrybomb

    cherrybomb Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2010 Tennessee

    @ Scott Anderspn
    liquor stores work on a regular margin. Grocery stores run about a ten percent margin on beer. However, they run an exorbitant markup on food to help eat these costs. Just ask yourself, would you rather your money go to a family in tn or somewhere in Cincinnati? I agree the beer laws here are asinine
  16. Scott_Anderson_

    Scott_Anderson_ Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2014 Tennessee
    Beer Trader

    Liquor stores are not going anywhere, regardless of state mandated liquor laws. Plenty of states require hard liquor to be sold in a liquor store, while beer and wine can be purchased in grocery stores. Liquor stores in those states do just fine. I'd also be willing to bet that beer accounts for only a fraction of liquor store sales in TN. The vast majority of sales goes to hard alcohol. That being said, I have a tough time accepting the small business argument.
  17. cherrybomb

    cherrybomb Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2010 Tennessee

    no matter what the business is. I would rather see money stay in tn than go away to other states. My argument was only to support small businesses.
    After all if you were an avid cyclists, you wouldnt go to walmart to buy a bike. You would probably go to the peddler or bikes plus, outdoors... you get the point. I just enjoy the lost art of human interaction with a specialist in any fields rather than a corporate giant. Life to me is all about relationships. Exactly why i choose to buy beer from taylor at cashsaver instead of kroger etc.
  18. Scott_Anderson_

    Scott_Anderson_ Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2014 Tennessee
    Beer Trader

    That's where we differ. First, I don't make enough money to pay $4 more for a sixer of beer above $6.3% at the local liquor store to support Charley and his family. Second, I don't find the staff at my local liquor stores to be helpful and often times find them rude. I guess if you enjoy the interaction part, fine. Maybe the customer/ vendor interaction is better in your area. But I personally cannot rationalize the extra cost to feel good about supporting the local store with skynhigh prices. The bike analogy is terrible but I'll bite anyways... Imagine that same bike at BikesPlus, maybe the new Townie that the wife wants for Christmas, $100 cheaper at Sports Authority. You'd still pay the premium!? It is this kind of logic, or lack thereof, that makes me question the rationale of people and politics in this state. And I don't mean that as a stab at you; it's just an alarming observation that seems to be ubiquitous since moving here two years ago.

    I'm yet to find a compelling argument against the TN wine bill or the high gravity beer bill other than to support local business, which is not very compelling.
    #18 Scott_Anderson_, Jul 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  19. Scott_Anderson_

    Scott_Anderson_ Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2014 Tennessee
    Beer Trader

    See above post.
  20. cherrybomb

    cherrybomb Initiate (0) Apr 11, 2010 Tennessee

    I understand your point. I agree in the beverage world people can become pretentious and rude. I have had a different experience in my area. A store I know of pours cantillon krieks rr sours and other beers as an apprecitation for their customer's support. I am sorry you have had a bad experience in package stores. It just makes it easier to pick which ones to go to. Cheers!
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