But why can’t we raise the beer tax?


Rep. Terese Berceau (D-Madison) is more than happy to raise the tax on hard liquor by 58 percent, however, she sees the tax as hypocritical coming from the same legislators who have refused to raise the beer tax for four decades.

(Madison) Rep. Terese Berceau (Madison) today said she was “flummoxed” that both the governor and a key Senate committee will consider raising the liquor tax to pay for drunk driving penalty increases — but still refuse to consider raising the beer tax despite wide public support.

“Not only have the powers that be come very late to the table with the notion that the terrible costs of alcohol abuse could find a funding source in a tax actually tied to a substance widely abused in Wisconsin,” Berceau said, “They persist in stonewalling an increase in the alcoholic beverage that is most abused by binge drinkers – beer.”

The problem Berceau is facing is conventional wisdom. At least in Wisconsin it states that beer is fun alcohol, and hard liquor is dangerous alcohol.

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3 Responses to “But why can’t we raise the beer tax?”

  1. Ordinary Jill Says:

    That isn’t the main reason. Very little hard liquor is manufactured in Wisconsin (though that is starting to change). Beer has been big business (and therefore a big lobby) in Wisconsin for over a century. Any attempt to raise the beer tax will be spun as a tax on Wisconsin manufacturers.

  2. The Sconz Says:

    How could I forget to consider that? That definitely is the reason.

    What liquor is starting to be manufactured in-state?

  3. Ordinary Jill Says:

    It’s mostly vodka that is made in-state. Check out:
    http://45thparallelspirits.com/ (located in New Richmond, near the Twin Cities)
    http://www.greatlakesdistillery.com/ (in Milwaukee, makers of Rehorst vodka and gin) and
    http://www.yaharabay.com/Home.html (right here in Madison; they make vodka, white rum and apple brandy; whiskey will follow after it’s had several years to age).

    http://www.deathsdoorspirits.com/ is headquartered in Door County, but I believe that Death’s Door vodka is actually contract distilled by Yahara Bay (from the same stuff as Capitol Brewery’s Island Wheat beer).

    These are all craft distilleries, making top-shelf liquors in small batches, not the stuff that college students usually encounter.

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