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Prices for Alcohol are Rising Nationwide

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If there was ever a time to take up drinking, now would be it.

Vermonters who do so are in for some good news. They are getting a break on their booze, as the state is lowering the taxes on ready-to-drink spirits.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) has signed legislation lowering taxes on ready-to-drink spirits, the latest front in an ongoing battle within the alcoholic beverage industry that pits distillers against beer and wine makers across the country.

The new law, approved by the Democratic-controlled legislature, will amend the state liquor code to allow grocery stores and convenience stores to sell canned cocktails made with liquor. Currently, liquor in Vermont can only be sold at the 82 liquor stores run by the state.

States typically tax spirits at much higher rates than they tax beer and wine. The Vermont bill reduces taxes on packs of ready-to-drink spirits from $7.68 per gallon, the rate at which spirits are taxed, to $1.10 per gallon.

The new regulation aligns the taxes with actual alcohol content.

With this new law, Vermont consumers will be able to visit beer and wine retailers to get their favorite ready-to-drink cocktails, and distillers will no longer be burdened with such an excessive tax rate,” said Jay Hibbard in a release. He’s the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States senior vice president of State Government Relations.

Hibbard went on to say that states across the nation have been looking to “create a more level playing field” with ready-to-drink products, citing Vermont now being “one of the leaders in that area.”

“Treating products with the same or similar alcohol-by-volume fairly just makes sense, and this measure increases consumer convenience while supporting local businesses,” Hibbard said.

This is great timing for Vermont drinkers, as inflation is also impacting the price of the nation’s favorite drinks.

Prices of alcohol are rising nationwide, even reaching the bootleg market of the Big Apple as nutcrackers — an illegal boozy beverage sold by park and beach vendors around NYC — are skyrocketing to $15 a bottle.

The summertime favorite since the 1990s — a dealer’s choice concoction of fruit juice and liquor in a plastic bottle — used to sell in 8-ounce bottles for $5 or 12-ounce bottles for $10, Kareem Middleton, a seller in Bed-Stuy, previously told The Post.

But on Sunday, Sydney Pereira, a journalist at Hell Gate, tweeted that she saw the under-the-radar drink being sold at that 50% markup inside Prospect Park.

Naturally, New Yorkers are panicking. But some say this booze inflation has been puffing up for some time now.

One booze experts anticipates Americans will change their drinking habits as prices begin to rise.

“People will continue to consume alcohol no matter how bad a recession, but they do it a different way,” {Wyoming State Liquor Association Executive Director Mike Moser] said.

First, they may downgrade what they drink. He told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that brand loyalty is mostly of the past.

“My dad and grandpa drank the same type of whiskey and beer for their entire lives,” Moser said. “But now, we have more products available. We’re more price-sensitive than we used to be and the alcohol and drink quality is just better overall.”

Second, the types of businesses that serve alcohol have changed.

Most businesses in Wyoming that sell alcohol have diversified their income streams, offering additional options to enhance the drinking experience.

Vermont is part of my New England hiking trip itinerary this fall. I may have to give the “ready to drink” spirits there a try!


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