The Daily Pulse:

Fix the Beer Tax at Barley's on Friday

As we wrote a couple of weeks ago, there has been legislation introduced this session that would effectively lower Tennessee's insanely high wholesale beer tax, making it much easier for brewers in the state to earn their living -- and making it more likely that other breweries around the country would distribute their beers here. 

The legislation hasn't yet come before a committee, but if you're interested in learning more about what the Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 will do -- or if you just want to grab a beer -- then head to Barley's after work on Friday. The Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild and the Tennessee Malt Beverage Association are throwing a "Fix the Beer Tax" rally from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and one of the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Cameron Sexton from Crossville, will be there to talk about it. 

Full press release below:


February 11, 2013

KNOXVILLE - A statewide campaign to reform 1950s era beer tax policy that is the root cause of Tennessee's dubious rank as the nation's highest beer tax state will conduct a Knoxville rally at Old City's Barley's Tap Room & Pizzeria, Feb. 15, at 5 p.m. Participants will include legislative sponsor Cameron Sexton, Memphis area beer distributors and brewers and hundreds of beer enthusiasts.

The Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013, filed Jan. 29 by Rep. Sexton (R-Crossville) and Sen. Kelsey (R-Germantown), proposes to modernize Tennessee beer tax with a simple modification: It would calculate wholesale tax on volume rather than price and solve Tennessee's odd (and nationally unparalleled) tax policy that currently results in the beer tax rate rising exponentially higher every year.

Here's how much higher it rises: In 2008, Tennessee caught and passed Alaska as the top state taxer of beer.  By 2012, Tennessee had increased that lead by 12 points, and if the state keeps rising at the current average annual price increase of $1.15, in five years the average tax rate will be $42.75 per barrel - 29 percent higher than Alaska; in 10 years it will be $48.50 - 46 percent higher; in 15 years, it will be $54.25 per barrel - 64 percent higher.

The statewide Fix the Beer Tax campaign launched Jan. 30 in Nashville and rallied in Memphis Feb. 8 - resulting in an explosion of social media in support of reform.  This week the campaign will be visible in dozens of Knoxville area restaurants and craft brewery establishments, inviting consumers though social media to voice support and contact legislators. The campaign is on the Web at; on Facebook at www.facebook/fixthebeertax; and on Twitter at @fixthebeertax.

"Tennessee is beyond the tipping point," said Rich Foge, president of Tennessee Malt Beverage Association.  "The current tax policy allows the tax rate to rise unchecked at such a dramatic rise that it is now impacting competitiveness, economic opportunity and costs and choice for consumers.  The tax rate is out of control - it's time to modernize this old tax and make it right."

WHAT:  A rally in support of the Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013

WHERE:  Barley's Tap Room & Pizzeria - 200 E. Jackson Ave., Knoxville, Tennessee 37915

WHEN:  Friday, Feb. 15, 5 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

WHO:  Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville); Tennessee Malt Beverage                        Association; Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild; National brewers and importers, and hundreds of beer enthusiasts!

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