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Tennesseans for Honest Ale Taxes seeks changes to state tax code

March 06, 2012 By: grant Category: Beer in the news

Note: An earlier version of the story had the tax rates all wonky.

Tennessean Drew Phillips has launched a campaign to encourage residents to let the legislature know that the tax rate on beer over 4.9 percent ABV is too high.

“The most frustrating aspect is job creation. We’re sitting on our hands while states like North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington are reaping the benefits of an industry that is experiencing an incredible boom.” — Drew Phillips

Phillips cites the difference in taxes on higher alcohol beer – $4.29 on every barrel of beer under 5 percent ABV, and $4.40 a gallon ($136 a barrel) on anything higher – as a disincentive to opening new breweries in Tennessee.

Last year, the legislature passed a bill that would have allowed on-site tasting of big beers and sampling at a tap-room at the brewery. The bill was aimed at enticing Sierra Nevada to open a plant in East Tennessee.

Sierra Nevada backed out, citing concerns with water temperature and humidity rather than taxes, but the measure showed that the legislature was willing to change the law to bring big beer business to Tennessee.

Do you think it’s likely the state will bring equity to beer taxes?

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