Beer and Taxes

At the end of January Congress introduced the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. The bill would reduce the tax rate for large and small brewers. Both the Beer Institute which primarily represents mega brewers such as Anheuser Busch InBev and the Brewers Association which is the trade organization for craft brewers support the legislation. Similar legislation was proposed in the last Congress but did not pass. The prior bill had bipartisan support as does the current legislation.

Small brewers who produce less than two million barrels (a barrel is thirty-one gallons) annually would have a reduced rate of $3.50 a barrel for the first 60,000 barrels. All other would have a reduced rate of $16 per barrel for the first six million. The current rate of $18 a barrel would remain for companies that produce more than six million barrels a year.

The beer industry has been trying to reduce their taxes since 1991 when the rate of $9 a barrel, in effect since 1951, doubled to $18. The small brewers differential, enacted in 1976,  defines small brewers as those who produce less than two million barrels. These producers currently pay a reduced rate on their first 60,000 barrels.

The proposed legislation keeps that definition but creates another tier for brewers who produce between two and six million. Thus there is something for everyone in the bill. Mega brewers get some tax relief, small brewers who represent the vast majority of the 4,269 American breweries keep their differential  and some craft brewers like Boston Beer who have outgrown the current small brewer definition also get some relief and more importantly  get to maintain the cachet that goes along with being a craft brewer rather than a large brewer, It is not an accident that the name of the legislation includes the phrase “Craft”.

Although brewers are hopeful that the proposed legislation will succeed in the  current Congressional term, it is not clear that , after twenty-six years, they will finally achieve their goal of tax reduction. The current President is a teetotaler and he will need revenue for some of his deficit enlarging schemes such as a massive tax cut for the rich, the border wall and infrastructure projects.

Excise taxes are a very stable source of revenue that the federal government has relied on to supplement internal revenue since the 1930s. Time and again from the Civil War on, when the state has faced a shortfall they have  looked to the liquor industry to make up the gap. If the bill was not successful during the Obama administration I  don’t see why it will be any more likely in 2017.

Posted in Beer, Business, Craft beer, History, Liquor Industry, Politics, VB6 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

200 and Counting

The post I did last week on the Women’s March was my two hundredth  on this WordPress blog. It was my 238th post if you count the thirty-eight I did  when I had a website hosted by Network solutions which had a sort of blog page.

238 is not that many since I  started blogging in February of 2008. It is about twenty-six a year. That is why I am trying to step it up and  blog at least once a week this year. I am also trying to tweet at least once a day.  I am doing pretty well with both tasks but it is not as easy as it looks.

Because of a time crunch I am doing this shorter, accounting type of post today but there will be longer posts in the future. Next week I plan to blog about one of my favorite topics – the brewing industry and taxes. In two weeks I will tackle beer history and the different meanings of that term. Looking further ahead, I  hope to post about my work on my new book about faculty wives.

See you next week.

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Women’s March 2017

I went to the Women’s March in Boston last Saturday and found it to be an inspiring experience. I will need that inspiration because Donald Trump’s first few days as President have been terrible.

Eight years ago, I attended President Obama’s inauguration which was also inspirational. Of course, that event had a more hopeful tone since it was at the beginning of his time in office. I wrote about  being at his inauguration here.

The Boston March was less hopeful and more defiant. The people who marched are well aware of what Trump has said he will do and they believe him.  People are prepared to resist and fight to maintain civil rights, reproductive rights and liberties.

Since the election I have often felt overwhelmed and have had trouble figuring out what to do  and how to resist.  The march was inspiring  primarily  because it is great to know that over three million people world-wide feel as I do about Trump.  The March organizers are now figuring out what to do next. ( Click here to see their first action.) We will see if the energy of the March turns into a strong, ongoing movement. I hope so.





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Social Media

I have wanted to write a a post comparing Twitter and Facebook for a long time. I have been on Twitter for a longer period of time than I have been on Facebook. I have felt from the beginning that Twitter is a better arena for news, politics and connection with people I do not know.

Like anything, Twitter is what you make of it.  It took me quite a while to get over 100 followers – now I have 108.  Hash tags are everything; I could be better at coming up with good ones and more consistent in the use of them.

I have gotten the most responses to tweets that were essentially complaints about one or another big company.  Not only did individual people chime  in when I tweeted about Blue Host or Turbo Tax but the companies themselves responded.  There is something a little Big Brother about that but it also felt good to vent the frustration that comes with dealing with a faceless mega corporation.

Facebook, on the other hand, feels like a throw back to a village or bar where everyone knows your name.  It is very personal and enables you to stay in a minimal level of contact with friends and relatives. It is great that Facebook tells you when  it is someone’s birthday. Last week I dyed my hair purple and I got over seventy responses on Facebook to the picture I posted. I didn’t get a single response on Twitter to the same information. Once again, maybe a better hash tag would have helped.

To me, this shows that Facebook is about people you already know and Twitter is about a larger community. As a writer, I think Twitter, with the proper hash tags and tweets,  would be great to promote my next book. I don’t think Facebook would help that much except to tell people about the book party.





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A few years ago I started crocheting again after not having done it for a long time. I have wound up doing a lot of it. My latest creation is a Pussy Hat to wear at the Women’s March, January 21, 2017. We were going to attend the main demonstration in Washington D.C. but our schedule means we are going to the sister march in Boston. This is the pattern.

In 2015 I posted about my plans to go to Bowling Green for the ADHS conference. In that post I mentioned that I wanted to add something about crocheting and crafts to the website. That is a renewed intention for 2017.

I have always done some kind of craft. When my sister and I were teenagers we both learned knitting and crocheting She became a knitter while I gravitated to crocheting. When my children were little, I crocheted stuffed animals and other things for them. These are owls I made for some children I know.  For a while I made baskets but I have returned to crocheting. This is a miniature basket I made a few years ago.





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Plans for 2017

Last year was not such a good year, for either the country or this blog. Apparently I only blogged once – to complain about BlueHost, the company that hosts this website. BlueHost contracted with a company called Sitelock who contacted me repeatedly and claimed my website was infected. Of course they wanted a lot of money to fix it. I didn’t do that and eight my  months later my website is still here and seems to be working fine.

Admittedly, since I only posted once, I haven’t been paying that much attention. I am hoping things will improve in 2017. My plan which is somewhere between a resolution and a goal is to post, at least, once a week.  To actually achieve this, I might have to pick a day and then blog on that day every week.  That level of scheduling is probably necessary because I am trying to work three days  a week on my book about faculty wives.  I also plan to tweet every day. I started on January 2nd so it will be 364 tweets if I stick to it.

Those are my plans for increasing my social media presence. As for the website, I do plan to re-mediate any problems or infections. I also plan to change some of the the pages to better reflect my current interests,

As for who is reading what on this site, my to  post for 2016 was, by a wide margin, the one on methylated spirits. That was the subject of a paper given at the Alcohol and Drugs History Society conference in London. I gave a paper about bourbon there. There was one in 2015 in Bowling Green, Ohio where I gave a paper on addicted nurses. Since we have a conference every two years, there will be one in June in Utrecht, Netherlands. I don’t plan to give a paper but I will be attending.

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Bad Blue Host

This website is hosted by Bluehost.  I had been satisfied with their service for several years. Two days ago I stated getting very aggressive phone calls from a company named Sitelock. They claimed that there is malware on my website. I spent over an hour speaking to four different people at Blue host today and I am very upset.  It turns out that Bluehost, without asking,  engaged Sitelock to do free scans of  their customers websites. This gave Sitelcok access to all of my and everyone else’s contact information. I never gave my permission to Bluehost to give my phone number to Sitelock.  Bluehost’s big soution, after over an hour, is that I can send an email to Sitelock and opt out of the service. Nothing like shutting the barn door after the horse has escaped.

Posted in Blogs, History | 1 Comment

Effects of Alcohol

Someone used my contact form which you could access here to ask if I would post or link to the following website.  Alcohol is certainly a drug and therefore it has a physiological effect on the body.  The website focuses on the negative consequences of consuming alcohol. It is project run by volunteers and sponsored by the Alcohol Abuse Council.

It reminds me of Scientific Temperance Instruction which was a curriculum the Women’s Christian Temperance Union used in classrooms. They used to have a jar with a liver in it sitting on a desk. I have written about alcohol and its effects on the body in two other posts. “Your Liver on Drugs” and “Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer”.

Here are some pictures of a liver.  These pictures are some of my most popular posts.normal liver



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I am doing some long postponed work on this website. I have added news about my upcoming paper at the ADHS conference in Bowling Green,Ohio, June 18-21, 2015.

I have also finally published my Links page which contains some of the places and pages I visit on the world-wide web.

In the near future I plan to do some more work on the website; primarily adding a page about crocheting which I have been doing a lot of recently. My plan is to have a page which will showcase some of the work I have done . I will also put some crochet-specific links on the newly published Links  page.

If there is anything you – my readers and followers – would like to see on this website, please let me know. You can either comment on this post or on my Contact page.

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Lessons from Alcohol Production for Legal Marijuana

marijuana plantAccording to an article in the New York Times, Colorado is getting fewer taxes from the sale of recreational marijuana than the state expected. The creation of a legal marijuana market has occurred within the context of states increasingly turning to sumptuary or “sin” taxes to close budget gaps.

As with marijuana in Colorado these taxes have not generated as much revenue as expected. High cigarette taxes have inevitably led to tax evasion and smuggling. Because sumptuary taxes have a public health component, as smoking has decreased so has revenue.

The issues that states have faced when taxing tobacco or gambling are similar to tax issues around alcohol production and use. During the Civil War when Congress debated tax legislation, some legislators sought to place the highest tax possible on liquor to discourage drinking.

Several years of high taxes led to widespread fraud, tax evasion, and reduced revenue. In the late nineteenth century evasion of federal liquor taxes continued, most often in the form of moonshine in the southern states.

Colorado taxes marijuana per dollar rather than per gram. Federal alcohol taxes are on the amount produced not the amount sold. Because marijuana was previously illegal in Colorado, public health advocates feel the greatest benefit from legalization has been a reduction in crime and an increase in public safety.

When repealing Prohibition became a serious option, policy experts saw both increased revenue and reduced crime as potential benefits. As states consider legalizing his sale of marijuana, alcohol taxation remains as an example.

( Inserting a link is not working in WordPress so here is the link to the New york Times article: )

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