With the Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 — legislation that will change Tennessee’s tax on beer to a more business friendly volume-based calculation, taking the heat off small craft beer businesses — heading to General Assembly with votes from the House and Senate local committees, there was no better time for Yazoo Brewing Co. and Calfkiller Brewing Co. to debut their “oppressively refreshing” The Beacon: A Tennessee High Tax Ale.
The two breweries debuted the beer at Midtown Wine & Spirits and Frugal MacDougal Wine and Liquor Warehouse to highlight the Volunteer State’s dubious status as the nation’s highest taxer of beer. According to Yazoo’s Linus Hall, the new brew was “was well received, especially with high hopes for the votes on our bill today in the Tennessee legislature.”
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.
“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,” Hall said. ” 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.”