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1900% tax increase on Oregon beer

JohnE O Feb 17, 2009 12:01 PM

Read it and weep:


It works out to an increase of $1.50/pint which is pretty significant.

  1. c oliver Feb 20, 2009 01:03 PM

    I just reread the link from the OP. In that article it was a brewery owner who came up with that $1.50/pint increase. Sounds like that wouldn't be the case at all. I believe anyone could handle a 20 to 25 cents increase, couldn't they?

    1. m
      mexivilla Feb 20, 2009 04:42 AM

      According to Wiki there are 248 pints in a US beer barrel. So the increase per pint should be $0.20 not $1.50. Unless the difference is the bar's markup.

      5 Replies
      1. re: mexivilla
        c oliver Feb 20, 2009 06:15 AM

        Ah, very in-ter-est-ing. You don't suppose the MEDIA could possibly be distorting the facts in order to sensationalize, do you?!?!? Thanks for that.

        1. re: mexivilla
          Das Ubergeek Feb 20, 2009 12:50 PM

          Making no commentary on the merits of the tax itself, only on the math here:

          A barrel of beer in the US is 117.3 litres. It contains 206.5 pints of beer (remember that a "pint" of beer is usually 568 mL, not the 473 mL pint that milk comes in). So the additional $49.61 per barrel of beer works out to 24 cents per pint, or 90 cents per six-pack (of 12-fluid-ounce bottles).

          1. re: Das Ubergeek
            mexivilla Feb 21, 2009 04:45 AM

            Not to be argumentative but for the record:
            1pt=16oz in the US.
            That means that there are 8pts in a gallon.
            There are 31 gallons in a US barrel of beer.
            Therefore 248

            248 US Pints in an American barrel of beer
            US Pints in a true US barrel (however, if you're looking for usable pints, then subtract a few for spillage and the bottom of the barrel... never tasty...)

            If you Google you will disover an American uprising against the sale of "14oz. pints".
            Kari Chisholm of Oregon has started a petition to get the Department of Agriculture to enforce "The Honest Pint".

            1. re: mexivilla
              Das Ubergeek Feb 21, 2009 06:38 AM

              Have you ever ordered a pint in a bar? Not a glass, but an actual pint?

              It's not 16 fl. oz., which is 473 mL; it's 568 mL, or about 19 fl. oz. There are just as many websites complaining about ordering a (568 mL) pint and getting a US (473 mL) pint and many, many serious beer bars advertise that they serve real (568 mL) pints.

              Any craft brewery serves proper British pints - 568 mL. Since the OP was complaining about the effect on Oregon craft brews... in any case, it is certainly not $1.50 per pint of any kind, and it sounds suspiciously like the complainer about the $1.50 per pint is trying to pad his profit a bit through reduced expectations.

          2. re: mexivilla
            JohnE O Feb 21, 2009 05:39 AM

            After doing a little research here's what I found on the discrepancy. Apparently legislators want you to think it's only $0.15/pint and brewers are figuring $1.50. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between. Still, it's a disturbing trend. Beer this year, wine the next and 'junk food' after that.

            "Kurt Widmer, one of the brothers behind Widmer Brothers Brewing, says the actual tax paid by drinkers will be much higher than legislators claim, after middlemen slice their share.

            "The lie of the 15 cents is that a pint (actually) goes from $4 to $5.50," he says.

            "To me it's a mystery why you would damage an industry that's proven to create family wage jobs.""

          3. c oliver Feb 18, 2009 10:15 AM

            This is not the place to discuss the huge problem in Oregon regarding revenues and their causes (logging, etc.) And if becomes that the mods should delete it as it's not about beer. But what about some discussion about this quote from the article:

            "HB 2461 claims Oregon ranks 49th among states in its malt beverage taxation rate, which has not been raised in 32 years. "

            Would a 1900% increase place Oregon 1st? Or would it be in the middle? If in the middle, would that be reasonable? If it hasn't been raised in 32 years, should it be raised alot? Especially in light of the fact that services aren't just being cut but in some cases done away with, i.e., the examples I gave for Josephone County of the library closing and the sheriff's dept. may have the elected sheriff as the only employee and the jail closing.

            More than anything I'd be interested in the data about other states taxation rate.

            5 Replies
            1. re: c oliver
              nkeane Feb 18, 2009 01:55 PM

              it would make Oregon the highest. by about double! and I disagree with all taxation on specialty items. Beer, wine, cigarettes, etc., taxes should be levied fairly and equally. Taxing an individual item, activity or what have you, is not only fool hardy, but highly elitist and selfish!
              as soon as this gets resoundly defeated by the people(I surely hope that the legislature sees how impossible this is going to be to get by the voters and doesnt waste OUR money and OUR time......but uh, they are polititians, I aint holding my breath), I hope that our govt. offiicials can come to their senses and attempt to rebuild our tax code. Some times to fix something you have to tear it all the way down and start over!

              1. re: nkeane
                c oliver Feb 18, 2009 02:50 PM

                What state is currently #1 (a dubious honor, for sure!)? Do the top, say, ten states have active brewing activities and how are they doing?

                Yes, rebuilding a tax code sounds like a wonderful thing but I won't hold MY breath on that one :) Oregon is hurting and needs money to support programs that are near and dear to many hearts.

                1. re: c oliver
                  enbell Feb 18, 2009 03:02 PM

                  My first guess would be Utah, but I have no data to support my guess.

                  1. re: enbell
                    podunkboy Feb 18, 2009 07:26 PM


                    Apparently Alaska, then Hawaii, from a excise tax/gallon, but most states and localities also add sales taxes.

                    1. re: podunkboy
                      c oliver Feb 19, 2009 06:33 AM

                      And, if Oregon had a sales tax, at least some of the problem of declining revenues would be negated. I do think that when you eliminate sales tax and increased property taxes (which Oregon property owners are rabid about) then the other "solutions" are probably all flawed in some way.

            2. d
              duck833 Feb 17, 2009 07:45 PM

              The people will get it on the ballet and vote it out. Oregonians have voted down a sales tax nine times. Time to vote down a beer tax. Politicians just don't get it.

              3 Replies
              1. re: duck833
                c oliver Feb 17, 2009 08:00 PM

                Uh, maybe the citizens don't get it. Services have to be paid for. How are they going to be paid for in Oregon with no money? If an alcohol tax funds programs for alcohol and drug programs, doesn't that seem appropriate? Where is the money going to come from otherwise?

                1. re: c oliver
                  JohnE O Feb 18, 2009 03:43 AM

                  Where did the money come from prior to the tax? It's part of the emerging pattern in the US that while citizens have to make do with less, the government spends more. A big problem with this type of tax is they're counting on "X" amount of dollars to be generated by it, but don't figure in the decreased sales from the tax. In the end it's only going to punish Oregon brewers who will face a tougher time selling their product because their competitors outside the state don't have to pay the same tax. Bottom line is it's unwise to put a huge tax on a product with an elastic demand.

                  1. re: JohnE O
                    Insidious Rex Feb 18, 2009 10:00 AM

                    And it acts as a deterrent to new breweries that want to open in Oregon and provide jobs to people. Not to mention it could affect the jobs of current breweries of course. Which all hurt the state economy. Why don’t they just pick on cigarettes like everybody else. :D

              2. enbell Feb 17, 2009 06:36 PM

                Looks like Idaho has somwthing in the works as well, but not as steep as Oregon.

                1 Reply
                1. re: enbell
                  Jim Dorsch Feb 17, 2009 07:27 PM

                  Interestingly, there's a movement toward decreasing the federal beer tax, although I'll believe that when I see it!

                2. Jim Dorsch Feb 17, 2009 05:17 PM

                  Nothing to weep about until it becomes law. I'm sure there is plenty of activity on the part of brewers to temper or eliminate this.

                  1. c oliver Feb 17, 2009 12:30 PM

                    I assume you both live in Oregon? With their being no sales tax and with any ballot measure (outside the Portland area) that raises property tax generally being doomed, this is probably just a sign of things to come. We have a home in Southern Oregon. The library closed over a year and a half ago and just partially reopened with a private foundation running it and raising money. The sheriff's dept. had a levy defeated in November and will likely close the jail and layoff most employees. Only crimes like murder will be investigated. I don't say it's right but how are services going to get paid for?

                    I also wonder if Oregon is 49th, would the increase make them in the top 10?

                    1. g
                      gkeepers Feb 17, 2009 12:04 PM

                      I know. This is unacceptable.

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