Beer, Wine Excise Tax Revenues Show Slight Increase in 2014

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State excise tax collections for beer and wine increased by 1.9 percent during the 2014 calendar year.  N.C. Department of Revenue figures show total collections of $142.3 million, an increase of $2.7 million from the 2013 calendar year.
Beer and wine wholesalers are responsible for collecting the excise tax while providing timely and accurate payment to the state on a monthly basis.
The excise tax on beer was responsible for $116.4 million of the overall total.  Beer tax collections were up 1.1 percent for the 12-month period.  It is only the second time in four years that beer tax collections have shown an increase.  Beer is taxed at a rate of 62 cents per gallon–the 9th highest beer excise tax in the U.S., according to the Tax Foundation.
“With the proliferation of craft breweries in North Carolina, there’s a misperception that overall consumption of beer has increased,” said Tim Kent, executive director of the N.C. Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association.  “In fact, beer sales volumes have been flat for several years because  we have had a tough job market for a key demographic (21-34 year-old males) and because some consumers are moving toward higher-calorie beers with an increased level of alcohol.  In terms of the immediate future, the recent drop in gasoline prices and a drop in unemployment may impact beer sales as consumers now have additional disposable income.”
The excise tax on wine generated $25.9 million in revenue for the state during 2014.  Nearly all of that total was generated by sales of unfortified wine, better known as table wine.    Table wine tax revenues were up 5.9 percent during 2014 and this is the fourth straight year of tax revenue growth of more than 3.5 percent.  Unfortified wine is defined as a wine product with 16 percent or less in alcohol by volume, and it is taxed in North Carolina at a rate of 26.3 cents per liter which is the 25th highest wine excise tax in the U.S.
“While beer remains the number one adult beverage of choice, consumers are gravitating toward an unprecedented variety of options including a greater awareness of wine,” said Kent.

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