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Pennsylvania's low beer taxes stand out

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Pennsylvania Daily Life

Additional outdoor seating extends into the street outside of Mike's Beer Bar on the Northside of Pittsburgh on Sunday July 12, 2020.

(The Center Square) — Pennsylvania isn't known as a business-friendly or low-tax state, but it does have one area it stands out: beer taxes.

Nationally, the commonwealth has the 4th-lowest tax on beer, averaging 8 cents per gallon and trailing only Missouri, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to an analysis from the Tax Foundation.

The average state beer tax is 26 cents per gallon, and the highest beer taxes were in Tennessee ($1.29), Alaska ($1.07), and Hawaii (93 cents).

Drinkers, however, aren't so aware of the beer tax due to how it's collected. It's an excise tax, collected from the retailer rather than at the consumer's point of purchase like a sales tax.


"Although you can't see the taxes on your receipt, vendors pass along those costs to consumers in the form of higher prices," wrote Janelle Fritts, policy analyst for the Tax Foundation.

The low tax could explain some of the industry's growth and expansion.

As The Center Square previously reported, the General Assembly is mulling a deregulation that would allow breweries to expand into distilling spirits. Advocates for the change argue it could be a boon for the economy and spur tourism across the state.

Voters tend to support the liberalization of alcohol laws. An April poll noted that a majority supported the end of Pennsylvania's state monopoly on wine and spirits, moving those sales to private businesses.

Originally published on, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.

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