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. 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 are 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.
Populuxe Brewing –
Well Mike, to paraphrase the bumper sticker, I’m already against the next beer tax.
Washington State has the most regressive taxes of any state in the country. This “sin tax” is yet another regressive tax which will end up dis-proportionally hurting the working class, middle income, neighborhood folks who come together at our tasting room to enjoy good beer and good company. I put “sin tax” in quotes to emphasize that this is not a tax on alcohol, it’s a tax on beer alone. Olympia seems to think that the real sin here is being one of the large majority of taxpayers who enjoy a beer after work rather than a Scotch or a glass of Pinot Noir.
I want a functioning, well funded government. Back in 2010 with I-1098, I thought we might be finally able to secure that. Now, we’re back at square one with the State putting the burden on small businesses and working class taxpayers. I don’t want to get too political here, but this fight isn’t just about the beer tax. It’s about getting Olympia to finally get serious about how to generate the revenue they need to fix the budget shortfalls, and to do this in a fair and equitable manner.
Sadly, I don’t think that the Governor or the Legislature have the political will to look for other solutions. The beer tax is the quick and easy way out.
As for how this will affect Populuxe directly, right now we’re taking a wait and see approach. Our production is so small, just 1.5bbl per batch, and we’re so young, just 6 weeks old, that we aren’t really certain how directly this increase will be felt. It will inform, if not limit, how we grow. Brewers who distribute widely, or package for store shelves, are sharing a market with Oregon craft beers who don’t have to absorb the increased tax burden. We’re going to wait and see how things shake out before we consider doing either of those things.
I’ll be down in Olympia on Friday for the rally, hopefully getting a chance to be heard. Thanks for your support on this.