Craft brewers are no strangers to taxing excise taxes. The indirect tax on listed items by the state is collected by the producer or retailer and not paid directly by the consumer, and as such often remains hidden in the price of a product or service. It’s a battle that brewers across the country have battled and now it’s the Nebraska brewers that are coming together to petition their political leaders to ease the cost burden of doing business.
Omaha.com reported that Caleb Pollard of the newly opened Scratchtown Brewing Co. in Central Nebraska took to the state capital to crusade for lower excise taxes, as well as more relaxed Nebraska distribution laws. And he’s not alone. Nebraska brewers are rallying to the cause.
Kim Kavulak, who started Omaha’s Nebraska Brewing Company with her husband six years ago, would like to see a decrease in the excise tax on craft beer. In Nebraska, beer is taxed at 31 cents per gallon, higher than any of Nebraska’s neighboring states. Beer from both huge domestic breweries and small independent ones are taxed at the same rate, she said.
Additionally, the cost of doing business with distribution companies under current Nebraska law is also a difficult hurdle for a startup brewer, like Scratchtown Brewing.
Breweries can sell their beer without the aid of a distributor at their own brew pubs, but not elsewhere. In Pollard’s case, that means that if an establishment three doors down from his own wants to stock Scratchtown beers, it would need to order it through a distributor 65 miles away in Grand Island, Neb.
Brewers’ concerns were heard during a hearing for the interim study of Nebraska’s craft brewing industry called for by LR 175. For the full story, be sure to check out Omaha.com.