A Good Beer Blog


Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


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Amy -

Hi Alan!
I was in Israel when you started discussing the proposed increase in United States federal beer tax so I am late to the party. Jay is right that the Civil War legislation taxed everything and that, after the War, only the tax on liquor and tobacco remained.
Today’s brewers are no different from their ancestors for arguing for the lowest tax possible and preferring no tax at all. Nineteenth century brewers, however, recognized that the federal tax gave their industry legitimacy and some protection against prohibitionist forces. Similarly, brewers, immediately after Repeal, were very cautious, both in marketing and in their relationship with the federal government. In the seventy-five years since Repeal, most brewers have abandoned both caution and a true appreciation of the special relationship they have with the federal government.
For much of United States history reformers have linked tobacco and alcohol as comparable sins. In the last twenty-five years, their paths have diverged. Despite that, brewers should observe the plight of the tobacco industry and realize things could be a lot worse.
In 1991, Congress initially proposed a 400% increase in the beer tax. There were also various proposals to eliminate the small brewers’ differential, which did not succeed. The final tax was much less draconian. Brewers might want to state that they are happy to help the federal government in a time of crisis and then negotiate for the lowest possible increase.

Alan -

Thanks for that, Amy. As someone who pays $15 CND for a six of craft beer and has public health care, the cultural debate in the US is, as I said at Lews, very much a case of "not my country" but illustrates the difference as well as the contest of the crisis.

By this I mean if the powers of doom to craft brewers have their way, all tax increase will fail and you will not have either the new egalitarian health service or, frankly, response to the deficits your nation face.

Beer historically has been a resilient source of taxation due to the acceptability in the mind of consumers to pay what has been asked of them. Beer has not failed as a result of tax compared to other forms of regulation or market forces. If that is the case and tax dollars are needed - why not tax beer? This is not a point of view based on morality but one based on efficient revenue generation.

Knut Albert -

Not Mother Theresa, perhaps, but with a postitive attitude to lesbians!