07 April 2011

Frederick Brewpubs Protest Proposed Tax Increase--With Lowered Prices

Even before the Maryland legislature imposes its proposed sales tax increase on alcoholic beverages, the two brewpubs in Frederick--Barley & Hops and Brewer's Alley--are preemptively launching a counter-attack on their own against Annapolis, according to stories by NBC4 Washington and WHAG Hagerstown:
"This money is going to be going to Prince George's County and Baltimore City, and we are we having to subsidize them," Gary Brooks, the operations manager at Barley and Hops, told WHAG.
Analysts estimate the tax would raise about $29 million in fiscal 2012, $58 million the following year and $85 million in the third year. A significant portion of the year one proceeds would be set aside for schools in Prince George's and Baltimore.
But Brooks's protest could cost the state some of that cash. 
At Barley and Hops, customers currently pay 21 cents in sales tax for a pint of beer. Under the proposed increase, that would rise to 32 cents per pint.
Brooks is lowering prices enough so that customers would only pay 20 cents in sales tax per pint.
He hopes that will get the attention of lawmakers, who are still debating the bill in the House of Delegates.
Another restaurant, Brewer's Alley, also is taking part. 
"They're putting this tax on the back of our customers to take care of their legislative problems," said Phil Bowers, owner of Brewer's Alley.
This isn't going to last forever, of course:
"Until they either repeal the sales tax increase or until tax day, April 19, we'll just keep lowering the price of our alcohol," Brooks said.
Anyone want to place wagers on whether any Baltimore-area beer bars or brewpubs will join in?

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