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“The Beacon,” Yazoo and Calfkiller’s high-tax ale, coming out in bottles

March 15, 2013 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Government

The Beacon

Yazoo Brewing Company and Calfkiller Brewing Company are shining a light on Tennessee’s high beer taxes with a new collaboration brew, The Beacon.

The beer made its debut Dec. 1 at the 12 South Winter Warmer in Nashville. Now, it’s headed to shelves near you in bottles.

The beer will be released Monday, according to a press release issued this morning from the “Fix the Beer Tax” coalition, which is pushing for passage of the Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013. (Read the full press release below.)

The Beacon is an unfiltered beer brewed with some German oak smoked wheat malt, Tennessee honey and some in-house Calfkiller-roasted coffee.

Brewing Reform: A Drink to Fixing the Tax That Ales Tennessee

Yazoo Brewing and Calfkiller Brewing create a special beer to highlight Tennessee’s distinction as the highest-beer-tax state in the nation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Yazoo Brewing Company of Nashville and Calfkiller Brewing Company of Sparta will debut a new batch of beer Monday that highlights the Volunteer State’s dubious status as the nation’s highest taxer of beer. If you are thirsty for beer tax reform, fill your glass with “The Beacon: A Tennessee High Tax Ale,” a creation guaranteed to be “oppressively refreshing.”

While craft brewing is one of the nation’s fastest-growing industries, Tennessee craft brewers are faced with punitive tax policy – an odd wholesale tax based on price that results in a compounding effective tax rate that is 12 percent higher than even No. 2 Alaska, and ratchets higher every year with inflation. The tax results in brewers’ taxes and consumers’ prices rising higher, higher, higher.

This fact inspired Yazoo and Calfkiller to “cut the red tape” and “pop the top” on Tennessee’s guaranteed highest-tax ale.

“The world has changed – Tennessee has changed – a great deal since the wholesale tax was established in 1954,” said the Sergio Brothers of Calfkiller. “In addition to higher taxes, this has a detrimental effect on economic development and consumer choice.”

Even though Nashville’s Yazoo Brewery is based in Tennessee, it is much more profitable for them to truck and sell its products to customers in other states than to pay the state’s $37 per barrel tax. Breweries often ship their products straight through Tennessee but don’t stop at warehouses here, venturing on instead to places such as Arkansas ($7.51) or Mississippi ($13.23).

“It’s time to fix the beer tax to reflect the modern marketplace, which includes growth of craft brewers, to encourage rather than discourage economic investment,” said Linus Hall, owner of Yazoo. “The Sergios and I both have been frustrated by the effects this tax has had on our ability to grow, so we thought what better way to bring attention to it than to create a unique style of beer to Tennessee— the “Tennessee High Tax Ale” —while also making a statement about the future of this industry.”

Appearing in the general assembly Tuesday with votes in the House Local and Senate State and Local Committees is the Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013, sponsored by Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown). The legislation will change Tennessee’s tax on beer to a more business friendly volume-based calculation— taking the heat off small businesses from Memphis to Bristol.

A coalition of statewide supporters has emerged to back the reform proposal, including the state’s large distributors, crafter brewers and consumers. The group has held large rallies in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Tri-Cities. For campaign updates, follow Yazoo @yazoobrew; the statewide campaign, @fixthebeertax; and Calfkiller @calfkillerbeer.

2 Comments to ““The Beacon,” Yazoo and Calfkiller’s high-tax ale, coming out in bottles”

  1. Since it’s a statewide campaign, this better be available in Memphis!


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