Millennial Message to the Federal Goverment: Stop Squandering America's favorite Beverage
Young republicans and democrats have differing opinions on many issues, however, there is one area where our generation overwhelmingly agrees. Beer. We love our beer.
Unfortunately, the government doesn’t seem to love the drink like we do. Beer production and distribution in our country is hindered by unnecessary government regulation and taxation, which presents challenges to the producers and distributors and heavily inflates the cost of beer for consumers.
Wisconsin is not only known for our major consumption of beer, but we are also a leading producer of the product as well. Beer production is a large part of our economy and several breweries have their headquarters in Wisconsin. According to the Beer Institute, a national trade association that represents America’s breweries, 60,630 jobs originate from Wisconsin brewing, distributing, and retail companies. To put that in perspective, that makes up 1% of the total workforce in Wisconsin. One out of every 100 working Wisconsinites work in the beer industry in our state. Furthermore, beer is responsible for $8.7 billion dollars worth of economic output in Wisconsin. That is equivalent to 3.7% of Wisconsin’s total GDP.
It’s hard to deny that the beer industry is a major factor in our state, culturally and economically. The government realizes the impact a New Glarus’ Spotted Cow, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, Miller Lite, Pabst Blue Ribbon, or Horny Goat’s Exposed Cream Ale (just to name a few) has in our lives, and they use this to their advantage. The government collects over $1.4 billion dollars in taxes from the production and consumption of beer in Wisconsin alone. Part of that number is an excise tax. For every case of beer that is sold in the United States, the government collects an excise tax of $1.31 per case of beer. An excise tax is an indirect tax that the seller pays to the government, and in order to fund this tax the seller raises the price that is paid for by the buyer. This tax is put right on the shoulders of the consumer.
Ultimately, the government should be making it easier for businesses to start up, grow, and flourish. However, this is not the case for a brewery. After contacting a local craft brewery in Wisconsin, it became clear that starting a new brewery is far from easy to do. There are numerous regulations in place by the government that results in tedious, time consuming procedures that often times are unnecessary. A local business owner from Milwaukee started a brewery four years ago. First, they had to apply for a Federal Permit from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to brew beer. This took 9 months to attain. Following this, they had to submit their beer brand to the TTB in order to start brewing, and they needed to get state label approval as well. If all this wasn’t tedious enough, the TTB also checks your financial status and it is a requirement that you own your own equipment. To read about these unnecessary regulations and discover more, visit ttb.gov.
In our country, the free market system should encourage businesses to open. The government should not hinder this process. Instead of brewing trouble, the government should get out of the way and let breweries brew the drink we love the most, beer.