Spirits companies have been fighting for lower excise taxes for decades. Citing “equivalency” as a reason to reduce the much higher state and federal tax on liquor, they have had little to no success. But now that RTD’s (ready-to-drink spirits-based cocktails) are booming in the marketplace, the spirits industry may be at it again. And since RTD’s are generally about or only slightly higher in alcohol than beer and look like beer (usually in 12-ounce cans), they may have a stronger argument.
New Jersey’s legislature is currently considering SB 3452, which would reduce excise taxes on RTD’s below 9.9% ABV to the same state rate as beer at 12 cents per gallon as opposed to the current $5.50 per gallon. How this plays out in New Jersey won’t be the end-all, but it may help set the course one way or the other.
More details here.