America is the world’s most profitable beer market, yet the U.S. has lost what was once a competitive industry. As recently as 2004, ten companies fought over world consumption; today Belgium-based InBev (Anheuser-Busch InBev) controls 25 percent of the world’s beer market. SABMiller, the second largest brewer with 15 percent of the market, is a London-based conglomerate that formed when South African Breweries acquired U.S.-owned Miller in 2002.A "more troubling" problem is that beer is under-taxed--say it isn't so!
An even more troubling problem arises over taxes, especially with government facing reduced tax revenues. Federal alcohol excise taxes haven’t been raised since 1991 and, adjusted for inflation, have lost 40 percent of their value. State taxes are similar: Wisconsin hasn’t raised its alcohol tax to keep up with inflation since 1969 and has lost 83 percent of its value. Maryland’s alcohol excise tax was set in 1972 at 9 cents a gallon, but would be 38 cents a gallon if it were adjusted for inflation.And there is no shortage of new applications for that reasoning.
“Increasing taxes is the number one most effective way to reduce underage drinking and overall harm,” said Lebron. “The beer companies know that and are fighting it, despite the fact that alcohol harm in California alone amounts to $38 billion a year. In the U.S., it’s over $200 billion a year. Industries that cause harm, such as alcohol and tobacco, should be financially responsible for some portion of that harm.”
Crossposted on Soccer Dad