No New Oregon Beer Tax
What do people think about raising the beer tax by 1900%?
79% think the tax is too high or a bad idea.
19.77% 321 votes
Tax too high
25.74% 418 votes
53.08% 862 votes
1.42% 23 votes
You can read more about the proposed tax and cast your vote here
The Oregon brewing industry is facing a nearly $50 per barrel increase on beer taxes – an increase of over 1900% – which would make the Oregon beer excise tax the highest in the country.
If you oppose this extreme and unfair tax increase, here are 3 simple things you can do to make your voice heard:
1. Write your legislator – This may sound like something you’d hear from your grandmother, but nothing has a stronger impact on legislators than getting a good old-fashioned piece of snail mail. Take a peek at our template letter then customize and send your own version. You can find a copy of the proposed HB 2461 bill here You can find your legislator at here and a list of Revenue committee members at here.
2. Get social – The Oregon Brewers Guild has created several social networking applications devoted to connecting consumers opposed to House Bill 2461. These groups are a vital online community and help spread the word when news and events happen. We’re on Facebook here and Twitter here. Sign up. Tell your friends.
3. Sign the petition – The Oregon Brewers Guild is collecting signatures for an electronic petition against HB 2461. This might seem self explanatory, but the more signatures we’re able to collect, the bigger the impact on legislators. You can sign it here .
Here is a sample letter that you can send off to your legislator or send out to your e-newsletter or blog. Please feel free to add in your own experience where it talks about how the tax will affect you directly.
Dear Honorable Representative ______________,
Oregon is in the middle of an economic crisis, facing major budget deficits and the potential loss of thousands of family wage jobs. Now, more than ever, the public is looking to our government to provide strategic and smart leadership to address these problems.
The craft brewing industry has been extremely good for Oregon. Oregon breweries directly employ more than 5,200 people at a family wage; 2,300 of those jobs were created in the last 5 years. As Oregonians drink more Oregon made beer, more Oregon jobs are created.
This green, sustainable and entrepreneurial industry – which is built on uniquely Oregon advantages such as agriculture, people, place, tourism and lifestyle – contributes $375 million to the Oregon economy every year. It does this without receiving state tax breaks or subsidies, while continuing to pay tens of millions of dollars in existing taxes.
The tax proposed in House Bill 2461, would devastate what has been an incredible economic success story for the State of Oregon. At this time and in this economy, our state cannot afford to put more people out of work and harm an industry that is serving Oregon – which is exactly what this tax increase will do.
- Oregon Breweries directly employ more than 5,200 people, many at family wage jobs. 1
- Total economic impact from the beer industry on Oregon’s economy is $2.25 billion. 3
- Over the last 5 years Oregon Breweries created 2300 jobs. 1
- Over the last 5 years Oregon Brewed beer consumed in Oregon rose from 9.9% to 12.0%.1
- Over the last 5 years for every 1,000 barrels Oregon Brewed beer consumed in Oregon, more than 30 jobs were created. 1
- Over the last 5 years per capita consumption of beer is down in Oregon.1
- Oregon is the second largest producer of craft beer in the US. 1
- Oregon is the second largest craft beer market in the US. 1
- The Oregon market is the largest market for every craft brewer in Oregon. 1
- 37% Percent of all draft beer consumed in Oregon is brewed in Oregon. 1
- Oregon has the 4th highest percentage of beer draft sales in the US. 1
- Oregonians consumed 2.72 million barrels of beer in 2008, of that more than 327,000 barrels were made in Oregon or about 12 percent of the total beer consumed in Oregon – the highest percentage of local craft beer consumption in the country.1,3
- Oregon is the No. 2 hop growing state in the country with a 2008 crop value of $38,000,000 which ranks 18th in Oregon’s five billion dollar agricultural economy. 4
- There are currently 73 brewing companies, operating 96 brewing facilities in Oregon.1
- There are 30 breweries operating in Portland, more than any other city in the world. 1
- The Portland metro area has 38 breweries, more than any other metro area in the world. 1
- The Portland metro area is the largest craft brewing market in the United States(U.S.).2
- The national average for total craft beer consumption is 4.0 percent. 2
Why boosting beer taxes over 1900% is a bad idea … especially in a bad economy.If, 25 years ago, a group had approached Oregon Legislators promising their industry would produce 5,200 direct jobs and over 10,000 indirect jobs, if they promised their industry would be clean, green, popular with Oregonians and provide a uniquely Oregon attraction for visitors that would equal the states wineries, if they would forego any tax breaks plus agree to pay tens of millions of dollars for the privilege of doing business in Oregon – what would legislators have said?That is the history of Oregon’s craft brewing industry. We’ve grown an iconic industry built on uniquely Oregon advantages in agriculture, people, place, lifestyle and tourism. Oregon legislators have encouraged the growth of the Oregon craft beer industry by keeping beer taxes here competitive with neighboring states. Only 1 of the top 50 Craft brewing companies in the U.S. in 2007 resides in a top 10 beer excise tax state. Oregon is home to 7 of the top 50 craft brewing companies in the U.S.Raising Oregon beer tax rates would be bad for Oregonians and Oregon beer producers because…Boosting beer taxes by nearly $50 per barrel – an increase of over 1900% – would make Oregon beer taxes the highest in the country.Raising Oregon beer taxes by nearly $50 per barrel would be the largest single increase in beer taxes in American history.Oregon Brewers Guild members already pay millions of dollars per year in beer excise taxes in addition to state corporate and income taxes, property taxes and fees all other Oregon businesses must pay.
Tax hikes on beer producers would raise prices for Oregon consumers, retailers and restaurants at the worst possible moment
Beer taxes are inherently regressive – more than half of the proposed increase would be paid by Oregonians earning less than $45,000 per year.
Restaurants and taverns are already experiencing major revenue losses from the economic downturn, and to tack a price increase on beer would only drive more price-sensitive customers away.
The proposed tax would increase beer prices significantly, which would encourage customers to purchase their beer from retailers in bordering states.
Higher beer taxes threaten Oregon’s growing beer industry and the $375 million in economic benefits the industry generates in Oregon every year.
The proposed beer tax increase will devastate a homegrown industry. Oregon’s beer industry directly provides over 5,200 jobs.
Increasing state taxes on beer by more than 1900% over the current tax could result in the loss of up to 3,400 jobs. 
A huge beer tax hike will threaten the second-largest craft beer industry in the nation with higher costs and lost sales
Taxes already are the single most expensive ingredient in beer, costing more than the labor and raw materials.
Oregon’s beer tax rate is already higher than beer tax rates in Colorado, Missouri and Wisconsin.
The Oregon Legislature’s recognition of the economic development benefit from keeping Oregon beer tax rates competitive with other beer-producing states has nurtured the second largest craft brewing industry in the nation.
Raising Oregon beer taxes would make Oregon beer, already premium-priced, less competitive and stunt its growth.
Around 12% of beer consumed in Oregon is made here by Oregonians. That’s the highest craft beer market share of any state in the country – three times higher than the national average.
Only 5.09% of current Oregon beer, wine and liquor tax net revenues actually are earmarked for mental health, alcohol and drug treatment programs.
State and local governments have not been held accountable for the $155.8 million they collected in 2008 in net beer, wine and liquor revenues. They cannot tell you how they are spending most of the current alcohol taxes they collect because only a small percentage is specifically spent for treatment programs.
In 2008, only $7.9 million of the $155.8 million in total revenue collected was earmarked specifically for mental health, alcohol and drug treatment programs.
It’s unfair to ask beer drinkers to pay for prevention and treatment for all substance abuse in Oregon.
If policymakers want more money for alcohol and drug treatment programs, they should first consider reprioritizing the General Fund dollars we currently collect rather than boosting beer taxes.
Brewers would have to pay the higher tax whether or not they are profitable. To stay afloat, they will be forced to pass the tax increase on to consumers and suffer the sales losses rather than make too little margin per sale to keep their businesses viable.
1 The proposed increase would raise Oregon’s beer excise taxes to $1.68/gallon. Currently Alaska’s beer excise taxes are the highest state taxes in the country at $1.07/gallon.
2 The largest previous tax increase was when Alaska raised its rate from $10.35/barrel to the current rate of $33.17/barrel. The proposed increase in HB 2461 would raise Oregon’s current $2.60/barrel rate to $52.21/barrel.
3 Economic impact study, 2005, Beer Serves America
4 Oregon Brewers Guild data for jobs directly related to Oregon’s breweries.
5 Oregon’s beer excise tax rate is $.084/gallon. Colorado’s rate is $.080/gallon, Wisconsin’s is $.065/gallon and Missouri’s is $0.06/gallon according to Beer Institute’s Brewer’s Almanac.
6 Economic Impact Study, Beer Serves America
7 Oregon Liquor Control Commission Data for the Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Services Account in 2008