Hey Tennessee beer lovers, if you’re in Nashville Wednesday, stop by Yazoo’s taproom to support the Fix the Beer Tax efforts of the TN Craft Brewers Guild. The TN Craft Brewers Guild was formed in 2011 to promote Tennessee’s growing craft beer scene. Be sure to follow the Guild on Twitter.
On Wednesday, Jan. 30th the Guild is hosting the TN Beer Tax Reform kickoff event at Yazoo. They’ll have beers from Yazoo, Jackalope, Chattanooga Brewing, Calfkiller and other Tennessee brewers.
If you don’t know, Tennessee has the highest beer taxes in the country. Beer is taxed at 17% of wholesale cost. You catch that? Wholesale cost. That means the good State of Tennessee essentially raises its beer tax anytime barley and hop prices increase. It also means craft brewers pay more tax for a gallon of beer than the big BMC boys (Bud Miller Coors, for the non-beer geeks), because they use higher quality ingredients in their beer. A more fair system would tax beer on volume produced regardless of the cost of the ingredients use to brew the beer.
Craft beer is a growing industry. Ambitious entrepreneurs are investing their time and capital. People are getting good jobs. And TN brewers aren’t competing on a level playing field. Brewers in other states have more money to expand operations and hire people because they don’t pay the highest beer taxes in the nation.
Yazoo makes more money on the same beer sold in Mississippi and Alabama than they do in Tennessee. If Tennessee’s beer taxes were in line with our neighboring states, Yazoo and other Guild members would have more money to invest in expansion and staffing. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.
Fix the beer tax, Tennessee!