Tax reduction is possible and Elvis lives

Taxing times

Interesting news from the US Beer Institute, which says 51 US senators support a bill to lower federal taxation on beer and other alcoholic drinks.

The Craft Beverage Modernisation and Tax Reform Act of 2015 (S. 1562) would:

  • Lower the federal excise tax to $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels for domestic brewers who make fewer than 2 million barrels per year
  • Reduce the federal excise tax to $16 per barrel on the first 6 million barrels for all other brewers and all beer importers
  • Maintain the current $18-per-barrel rate for brewers who produce more than 6 million barrels
  • Lower the tax on liquor for the first 100,000 gallons produced from $13.50 to $2.70 per gallon
  • Exempt home distillers from federal taxes

As good as this sounds, it has to get passed before President Barack Obama leaves office. US alcohol taxation is as complex as it is in the UK or Australia. For each US fluid ounce of pure alcohol (29.5735 ml) the tax is:

  • Spirits: 21 US cents (27.7 Aus cents)
  • Wine: 8 US cents
  • Beer: 10 US cents

Because of the difference in taxation rates, the fight in the US is the same as in Australia. As soon as any change is put forward, brewers want the best deal for them, but so do distillers and winemakers. Again, as in Australia, they pretend they have a united front, but self-interest comes into play, resulting in disarray.

Elvis lives

We loved this story out of Scotland. Apparently the estate of Elvis Presley wants to sue the BrewDog brewery because it has named its grapefruit and blood orange IPA beer “Elvis Juice”. In response, the founders of BrewDog, James Watt and Martin Dickie, have both changed their Christian names to Elvis. This, they hope, will prove the Elvis Presley estate holds no rights over the name.

Scott rewarded for endeavour

It’s all change at the Woolworths-owned Endeavour Drinks Group. Rose Scott, general manager of merchandising and marketing, has moved to take up the role of managing director of China-based Summergate Fine Wines. Ms Scott is a good corporate lass, so will follow the rules and won’t rock the boat.

It’s a good gig and Ms Scott has plenty of opportunity to excel and build Summergate into a major force in Asia for distribution.

Taking over Ms Scott’s role is Michael Jackson, previously head of merchandising for Dan Murphy’s. We wish them both well and will raise a beer or wine to their future

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