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Senate Bill 1333 — Beer tax

Senate Bill 1333 — Beer tax

Lindsay Atkinson
February 18, 2020

Bill description: SB 1333 would clarify the limitations on alcohol content of beer sold in the state. 

Rating: +1

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market? 

SB 1333 would change the maximum alcohol level for a beer sold in the state of Idaho, as presented in 23-1002, Idaho Code, from 6% to 16%. According to the language in this section of code, this change will allow more beers to be “manufactured, imported, and/or sold and distributed in and into this state.”


Analyst’s Note: SB 1333 removes the current provision in state law that “beer containing more than four percent (4%) of alcohol by weight shall be considered and taxed as wine.” The bill sets specific tax prices for beers of different strengths. The tax is $4.65 per 31-gallon barrel of beer that has an alcohol content up to 5%. The tax is $13.95 per barrel of beer that has an alcohol content greater than 5%.

Currently, since beers with an alcohol content greater than 4% are taxed as wine, they are charged 45 cents per gallon ($13.95 per barrel). So this bill would not change the tax levied on high-alcohol content beers. 

It may initially appear that this bill would give a tax cut to beers that contain 5% alcohol. Currently such a beer would be taxed as wine, at $13.95 per barrel. Under, this bill it would instead be taxed at $4.65 per barrel. But this change is largely a product of the change in alcoholic content measurement, imposed through this bill, from content by weight to content by volume. 

A measurement of content by weight represents approximately 80% of the value of a measurement of content by volume. Thus, what is considered as 4% alcohol content in current law would be considered closer to 5% when the content measurement is changed.

This bill rating was updated on 2/18 to more accurately reflect the effect of changing alcohol content measurement from content by weight to content by volume.

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