If you live in Minnesota, you’ve no doubt heard that the Minnesota House is proposing to increase the beer excise tax from $4.60/barrel to $27.75/barrel. This has understandably stirred a lot of debate and discussion so we wanted to weigh in with our stance and clarify the points of the issue.
– We should be supporting our local breweries, but this tax does the exact opposite – it makes it difficult for breweries to grow and add jobs.
– Minnesota’s beer taxes are already 81 percent higher than Wisconsin, 33 percent higher than Iowa, 20 percent higher than South Dakota, and 22 percent higher than North Dakota – even BEFORE this proposed increase.
A 600 percent tax increase is bad for business, no matter how you slice it, and this proposal comes at a crucial time for Minnesota craft beer. Our breweries are growing, adding jobs, and are becoming the talk of the nation – as evidenced at the recent Craft Brewers Conference in Washington D.C. While it’s true this tax wouldn’t necessarily affect most of the breweries in this state right now, with Minnesota’s continued growth and expansion, in the next few years, more Minnesota breweries could be affected. And, once taxes are increased, they aren’t typically reduced down the road.
At Surly, as we continue to expand, we will soon outgrow Minnesota’s small brewer excise tax exemption. If this tax is increased 600 percent, as proposed, it will deal us a serious blow while we try to make more beer. It will affect how much you pay for your beer. We realize that ultimately no one likes taxes but this proposed increase punishes growth and success, and a 600 percent increase is just plain unreasonable.
Currently this tax would directly affect Schell’s and Summit, and we stand with them on this issue.
Minnesota state and local lawmakers have made some great strides over the past few years to encourage the growth of the Minnesota craft beer industry and we are very grateful for that support. We’ve all seen the positive results from that. Together we’ve started a craft beer boom in our state that we hope continues for a long time. We think this excise tax increase moves us in the wrong direction. We hope at the end of the day the legislature will agree with us and oppose this proposal.
Thanks for listening, Surly Nation. We wanted to clarify the main points so everyone can form his or her own opinion on this issue, and act accordingly. If you plan to act, now is the time to be heard: http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/
As always, thanks for your support.