Oregon beer tax

Spotted this article from our local Bend Bulletin newspaper. Legislators are trying to increase Oregon’s beer tax, which is currently one of the lowest in the nation. Interesting article, full of good information.

Pointing to millions of dollars spent annually to cope with addiction and alcohol-related injuries and medical conditions, activists and Sen. Bill Morrisette, D-Springfield, say the state should boost beer taxes by more than 1,000 percent.

Today, you’ll pay less than a penny of tax for a 12-ounce bottle of your favorite malt beverage.

Morrisette and the Oregon Council on Alcohol Abuse want to raise it to a dime per drink with the proceeds dedicated to cash-strapped county health departments, drug courts and law enforcement.

But if history is any guide, the likelihood for any increase is slim.

Oregon hasn’t hiked its beer taxes since 1977 and the rate is among the lowest in the nation, but there’s apparently little anticipation it could change this year. No hearing has been scheduled.

Oregon’s current beer tax is eight cents per gallon, or less than a penny for a standard 12-ounce bottle. The proposed increase would be to ten cents per bottle for brewers producing more than 200,000 barrels per year (Busch, Coors, Miller), and five cents per bottle for smaller brewers. Knowing how we hate our taxes here in Oregon, I’d guess this won’t pass.

There’s also an interesting chart of Oregon beer sales for 2004 at the end:

1. Anheuser-Busch Co. (Mo.), 799,066 [barrels].
2. Coors Brewing Co. (Col.), 427,844.
3. Miller Brewing (Wis.), 359,558.
4. Pabst Brewing Co. (Wash.), 136,619.
5. Barton Beers, LTD (Ill.), 99,327.
6. Deschutes Brewery (Ore.), 63,609.
7. Widmer Brewing (Ore.), 57,258.
8. McKenzie River Brewing (Wis.), 50,547.
9. Fosters Breweries (Va.), 38,114.
10. Labatt Brewery (Conn.), 27,552.
32. Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. (Ore.), 2,432.
54. Bend Brewing Co. (Ore.), 876.


  1. I think this is a dismal proposal that will hurt Oregon breweries and other businesses (aka: business owners). The Oregon microbrewery industry already has so many hurtles for sustaining a business due to the dominance of the giant brewing giants. The proposed tax will hurt our local craft brewery industry, local farmers, and all those contributing to this GREAT NORTHWEST PRODUCT!

    The only answer Oregon ever seems to have for budgeting is to raise taxes and fees instead of cutting spending.


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