This week I am sure you are aware of the current battle with the State of Washington and the possible raising and extending the beer tax. This is one of the most progressive and highest beer taxes proposed in the country. So I asked the brewers/breweries the following question and below are there answers. I got an overwhelming response so I am posting every reply I received.
The question – The Governors proposed plan is to Extend and Raise the Beer Tax here in WA State. How do you feel this proposal will affect your brewery?
Machine House Brewery –
A couple of thoughts on this tax issue. I’m not fundamentally opposed to taxes, but we typically use taxation (especially excise taxation) to either encourage or discourage behavior; and in that view a 425% increase on craft beer production will clearly discourage people from making and selling beer in Washington. That doesn’t even address the cultural issue. Craft beer is an institution in the Northwest, and Seattle in particular has become a destination for beer lovers and the state should continue to encourage our strong regional position in the industry. Given that, our taxation structure should be similar to our neighbors to foster growth. So many small breweries are contributing to a very vibrant atmosphere, which will grow into a vibrant beer economy. A huge increase stifles that immediately.
Lastly, as the father of a 1 year old I agree that the state needs to improve its funding of education; however, the cost/benefit analysis of this particular tax increase just doesn’t pencil out. The few million additional dollars anticipated from this does little to close the gap, while leaving it as is doesn’t make the problem any worse. In fact keeping the rate lower will help the large number of us trying to get our breweries off the ground continue to grow, while an increase would greatly impact growth plans and may even cause some folks to close their doors.
Thanks for your help in getting this message out.
Alex Brenner – Brewer