How does the current situation hurt consumers?
In 2005, Tennessee was the fourth highest beer tax state in the country. Since then, Tennessee has vaulted past Georgia, Alabama and Alaska to become No. 1. And now Tennessee’s tax has grown to be 12 percent higher than second-place Alaska.
“Tennessee beer drinkers are already paying more than their fair share, but this is getting out of control,” said Scott Turner, president of Ajax Turner Co. Inc. “We are completely out of step with the nation’s 49 other states. In addition to higher taxes, this is having a detrimental effect on economic development and consumer choice.”
Even though a craft brewery, such as Nashville’s Yazoo Brewery, is based in Tennessee, it is much more profitable for that brewery to truck and sell its products to customers in other states.
Meantime, other breweries ship their products straight through Tennessee but don’t stop at warehouses here, venturing on instead to places such as Kentucky ($24 a barrel) or Virginia ($8.69). The $37 tax here makes their products too expensive for them to consider selling in the Volunteer State. Consumers pay with a comparative lack of choice on the shelves.
Join Tennessee craft beer makers, wholesalers and consumers to help launch a statewide grassroots campaign in support of beer tax reform on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at Yazoo Brewing Co., at a 5 p.m. event. Hundreds of supporters are expected to attend and begin a statewide tour of campaign events in Memphis, Clarksville, Nashville, Cookeville, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Tri-Cities. The grassroots effort will be visible in hundreds of Tennessee restaurants and craft brewery establishments, inviting consumers through social media to voice their support and contact legislators.