Oregon beer and wine producers decry new tax legislation

Organizations representing producers of Oregon beer, wine, and spirits are sounding the alarm about a bill proposed in the legislature that would majorly hike taxes on alcohol.

Posted: Feb 24, 2021 11:42 AM
Updated: Feb 24, 2021 12:08 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Organizations representing producers of Oregon beer, wine, and spirits are sounding the alarm about a bill proposed in the legislature that would majorly hike taxes on alcohol.

House Bill 3296, sponsored by Democratic Representatives Tawna Sanchez and Rachel Prusak, proposes new taxes on beer, cider, and wine.

The bill proposes an additional tax of $70 per barrel of beer or cider and $10 per gallon of wine. The current taxes stand at $2.60 per barrel of beer or cider and 65 cents per gallon of wine, and the new taxes would be added on top of those existing rates.

Reps. Sanchez and Prusak reference the cost of addiction in Oregon as the impetus for the bill, citing statistics that the state's alcohol mortality rate has increased by 34 percent in the past 21 years, killing "five times as many people as all drug overdoses combined." The bill stipulates that tax revenues would go toward addiction recovery measures.

The Oregon Beverage Alliance and Oregon Wine Council both released statements this week in opposition to the bill, saying that it would be devastating to Oregon breweries, wineries, and distilleries already suffering from the impact of wildfires and COVID-19 closures.

“The idea of increasing the tax on small, local wineries that provide important jobs and tourism revenue to the state when we are just beginning to approach recovery from the current economic crisis is incomprehensible, let alone an increase of nearly 1700 percent,” said Sam Tannahill, Founder and Winegrower at A to Z Wineworks and Rex Hill winery. “As written, this proposal would potentially force most of Oregon’s prized wineries to simply shut down, as they would be unable to sustain their operations with this drastic of a tax increase.”

Both groups cited polls, conducted by the Oregon Beverage Alliance, that found 74 percent of Oregonians oppose alcohol tax increases.

“This appears to be the single largest beer, wine and cider tax increases ever proposed. If the goal is to kill the Oregon beer, wine and cider sectors, this bill is a great start," the Oregon Beverage Alliance said. "Beer, wine, cider and spirits are an essential part of Oregon’s economy and identity. House Bill 3296 would eliminate these local jobs with a nearly 3,000% tax increase on beer and cider and almost 2,000% tax increase on wine at a time when these businesses are battling a pandemic recession. This is tremendously insulting and would be an unprecedented blow to a sector that has put Oregon on the map."

The actual tax increase would be closer to 2,700 percent for beer and cider, 1,538 percent for wine. The Oregon Wine Council estimated that the bill would raise the cost of every bottle of wine sold in Oregon by more than two dollars.

“It is unfathomable to think that now is an appropriate time to increase any tax on one of Oregon’s homegrown industries that has suffered the most during the COVID-19 pandemic, let alone one of this magnitude,” said Scott Kelley, owner and winemaker at Paul O’Brien Winery.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313161

Reported Deaths: 3594
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah51245642
Washington34995276
Marion32577393
Clackamas26570271
Lane23989246
Jackson20977257
Deschutes16623102
Umatilla12602125
Douglas10712188
Linn1046886
Josephine8659165
Yamhill744999
Klamath643491
Polk623570
Malheur479467
Benton461927
Coos412069
Columbia324237
Jefferson313746
Lincoln276330
Union272737
Wasco239039
Crook212338
Clatsop211725
Tillamook181523
Baker174421
Morrow167921
Curry166817
Hood River163035
Harney78916
Grant7558
Lake6768
Wallowa50811
Gilliam1374
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4644566

Reported Deaths: 68019
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144512125852
Riverside3579884804
San Diego3495814009
San Bernardino3472035506
Orange3146225354
Sacramento1503072089
Santa Clara1405641841
Fresno1358611888
Kern1358421515
Alameda1162141329
Ventura976901120
San Joaquin973871615
Contra Costa95727924
Stanislaus806991234
Tulare72969896
San Mateo52239607
San Francisco51907605
Monterey49465565
Solano44151312
Santa Barbara43112500
Sonoma39441378
Merced39370535
Placer36487364
Imperial34261755
Kings30124284
San Luis Obispo28300313
Madera21707258
Butte21307230
Shasta20683276
Santa Cruz20151211
Yolo19143239
Marin17106242
El Dorado16004127
Sutter13094153
Napa1226895
Yuba926061
Nevada847685
Humboldt829587
Tehama823784
San Benito709067
Mendocino685575
Lassen637627
Tuolumne615393
Lake603687
Amador492259
Glenn398030
Siskiyou389541
Calaveras342266
Del Norte336034
Colusa290918
Inyo166539
Mono14935
Plumas12406
Mariposa99712
Trinity72010
Modoc6278
Sierra1980
Unassigned1650
Alpine1000
Out of CA00
Medford
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 61°
Brookings
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 58°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 61°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 61°
Klamath Falls
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 40°
Cooler temperatures and thin haze return on the first day of fall
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events