This week I am sure you are aware of the current battle with he State of Washington and the possible raising and extending the beer tax. Making for one of the more progressive and highest beer taxes in the country. So I asked the brewers/breweries the following question and below is there answers. I got an overwhelming response. 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. Was hoping you could tell me how you feel this proposal would affect your brewery.
What’s been most disheartening has been the response of the State Representatives from the 36th District–our District, and the home of more craft breweries than any other District in the State of Washington. Representative Reuven Carlyle (36) has prioritized lowering taxes on big breweries like Budweiser over protecting tax exemptions for the fragile start up breweries in his own district. Representative Gael Tarleton (36), while giving us plenty of lip service support in a face-to-face meeting last week, was unwilling to commit to extending the tax exemption on her own district’s craft breweries–a tax exemption we desperately need. As a lifelong democrat who voted for both of these individuals, it is disheartening to see them both willing to throw hard-working, job-creating, low-profit-margin small businesses under the school bus. We already pay our fair share in state tax, and happily. We just can’t absorb any more and stay afloat.
The affect the proposed tax increase would have on our business would be significant. Our expansion plans would go into the dustbin. And we would strain to continue paying back the large capital investment that got us started on a fractional profit margin that just got significantly smaller. And if we had no other choice, we would have to pass along the cost to our customers, raising the price of a pint by .25 or .50 cents. We’re already struggling to compete with our brewer friends from Oregon, who pay half the state sales tax we currently pay, and with the major breweries, who enjoy economies of scale we can’t imagine. Raising our prices would create the biggest competitive advantage yet for breweries from other states and from the majors who are increasingly cloaking their products in the guise of craft beer. One afternoon’s batch of beer at an Anheuser Busch facility in another state (they don’t have a single employee in Washington) is more beer than we could brew in three years. Why would our own representatives propose lowering their taxes and raising ours, when craft brewers employ 4000 people in Washington state?
I voted for these representatives to help us and maybe even protect us against out of state interests, but the opposite is the case. How disheartening.
Thanks, Bryan & the Dons