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Yazoo, Calfkiller collaboration brew, “The Beacon,” shines light on Tenn.’s high beer taxes

November 30, 2012 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Events, Government

The BeaconTennessee’s highest-in-the-nation beer taxes, including the state’s 17% beer wholesale tax, have inspired a new beer.

Yazoo Brewing Company and Calfkiller Brewing Company are shining a light on Tennessee’s beer taxes with a new collaboration brew, The Beacon, which will be available to taste for the first time Saturday at the sold-out 12 South Winter Warmer beer festival in Nashville.

The Beacon is an unfiltered beer brewed with some German oak smoked wheat malt, Tennessee honey and some in-house Calfkiller-roasted coffee. A seven-barrel batch of the beer was brewed in Sparta, Tenn., earlier this month.

Here’s more about the collaboration beer from Yazoo’s Linus Hall:

One thing we definitely have in common is our drive to change Tennessee’s beer taxes, which unfairly tax craft brewers at a higher per-gallon rate than beers from the big brewers, and which have risen every year since 1954, to where TN’s beer taxes are the highest in the country. So… we decided to put our frustrations into liquid form. Introducing… THE BEACON! Shining a light on a STYLE OF BEER UNIQUE TO TENNESSEE! THE “TENNESSEE HIGH TAX ALE” STYLE! Yes, only Tennessee can lay claim to this unique style of beer, where the taxes are raised to an almost unbelievable level of $37.00 per barrel. Other areas of the country can claim unique styles of beer, but only in TN are beer taxes taken to this level. We should be so proud!” [source]

If you aren’t going to the 12 South Winter Warmer, Hall says there will be keg tappings of the beer across Tennessee in the weeks to come. Plus, a second batch of the beer will be brewed at Yazoo and bottled in 750 ml bottles “for distribution wherever the light needs to shine in Tennessee.”

Hall is president of the board of directors for the newly-formed Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild, which is working to help change the beer laws in the Volunteer State.

More details about the Craft Brewers Guild’s efforts are expected to be announced soon. Stay tuned.

PolitiFact tests claim that Tennessee has some of the lowest beer excise taxes in the country

March 16, 2012 By: grant Category: Beer in the news, Government

Update: PolitiFact Tennessee took down this post over the weekend, and have since updated and reposted its ruling.

Last week, PolitiFact Tennessee tackled a claim by the Tax Foundation that Tennessee has some of the lowest beer excise taxes in the nation — a claim subsequently spread by other media outlets. Yazoo‘s brewmaster took umbrage to that claim:

From PolitiFact:

We found inconsistencies in the Tax Foundation’s map. A footnote says, “Local rates are excluded unless they are statewide and uniform. Alabama and Georgia include statewide local rates.” But we found that standard was not applied to Tennessee, which has a 17-percent wholesale tax on beer that is statewide, uniform and mandatory. Including the revenue it produces would push the state to No. 1 on the Tax Foundation’s rankings, just as it is ranked by the Beer Institute.

Check out the rest of PolitiFact Tennessee’s analysis — it’s pretty interesting, and does a good job of breaking down the various convoluted ways alcohol is taxed in this state.