ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Brewers and others in the beer industry expect to see a lot of business Memorial Day Weekend. While prices may be steady this year, industry leaders met Friday at the capitol to raise concerns over a proposed increase on beer and hard cider as a part of the governor’s capital plan.
Brewers said taxes on their beverages are already excessive. The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild said the state already has the highest taxes on beer in the Midwest.
The current tax is 21.3 cents a gallon. Under the governor’s preliminary capital plan, the price per gallon would go to 27.7 cents a gallon.
Industry leaders said small breweries and taverns could be hit hardest as they could be faced with thousands in new taxes. Brewery owners said the tax on a glass of beer is starting to cost more than the drink itself.
“Many may not realize it, but taxes are the most expensive ingredient in beer; not hops or barley or water but taxes. In fact, taxes compromise more than 50 percent of the average total retail price Illinois consumers pay at their local tavern, pub, grocer or brewery,” said Danielle D’Alessandro, executive director of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.
Brewers said their industry should not be taxed as a sin because they generate almost $14 billion into the state’s economy every year. Guild members said a lot of smaller businesses may end up absorbing most of the tax increase, so they do not pass the weight of the tax onto customers.
Brewers said they fear the rise in cost will drive customers and employees to neighboring states with lower taxes.