Beer and Taxes has been a hot topic as of late and over all I think the responses from the (craft) brewing industry have been appropriate so I have largely left the topic alone on this blog. But I would like to take this opportunity to commend the work of the many that strive to keep Craft Brewing a successful industry in our country and provide you with a few solid examples of our wonderful community at work. First Mark Stutrud from our local Summit Brewing sent out a nice email (which Stu so kindly posted) detailing how increased excise tax would hamper his companies ability to grow as well as illustrating how heavily beer is already taxes and what these increases really mean once your beer gets to the liquor store. Some of the best writing on the topic I have read has been by Jay Brooks of The Brookston Beer bulletin. First he points out that three of the thirteen people called on to testify about how to raise money for Obama’s health care plan suggested raising taxes on alcohol and proceeds to debunk their logic in addition to posting this action alert. Later he touches on the proposition to level taxes among alcoholic beverages which will greatly increase the tax on beer and wine while leaving spirits pretty much the same. Luckily the Brewers Association has taken a forward approach on this situation and recently introduced two pieces of legislation H.R. 836 and S. 1058 cited as Brewers Excise and Economic Relief Act of 2009 which are intended to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to reduce the tax on beer to its pre-1991 level which is half of the current rate of taxation. Thanks to Charlie Papazian for the heads up and most recently this posting (pdf) which further details the efforts of the Brewers Association. So for now I will continue to be optimistic as it seems the community is trying their best to inform the masses that raising beer taxes is simply unnecessary as history has shown us it is not particularly effective and I see no reason to burden a single industry so heavily for such little (or no) gain. Realistically some taxes will have to be raised as we are living in a massive deficit but I hope our government can be realistic and rational when they make these decisions and really think how they will impact our country and its people as a whole.
On to some more humorous observations we have a post from Bill of It’s Pub Night that simply made me laugh out loud. The Beer Review Generator, fill out a few radio buttons and there you have a review for whatever you happen to be consuming. Some people might find the concept a bit offensive, but frankly if you do, I couldn’t care less. Beer may be a wonderfully complex and delicious beverage that is deserving of serious analysis but we should also be able to laugh at ourselves. If you can’t do that you definitely need another beer and should buy me one while your at it.
I found this gem over at The Beer Runner’s website where Tim Cigelske writes for Draft Magazine. All the more reason to get a cargo bike, if only he had them chilled it would be prefect.
On the topic of bikes, this year I am riding the Tour de Cure to benefit the American Diabetes Association and the Larkin Hoffman MS150 to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Tour de Cure is a 45 mile ride on June 6th from Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis through Downtown Minneapolis over to Downtown St. Paul up and down the Mississippi River in both cities and back to Lake Calhoun. The MS150 is a two day 150 mile ride on June 13-14 from Proctor Minnesota (near Duluth) to Nowthen (about 40 miles from Minneapolis). Both rides should be a lot of fun and I am happy to have the opportunity to support some good organizations. I know the economy is tough for most of us but if you are able to donate to a good cause it would be much appreciated. Thanks for your support.
Lastly some more interesting thoughts from Jay on the concept of addiction being a disease. Glad to hear someone is finally challenging the theory as I am one who believes behaviors can be changed with the use of willpower. Even sheep are relatively easily trained 😉