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Another Reason to Move to Texas? Cheap Booze?

Don't ever buy liquor in the Pacific Northwest.
Don’t ever buy liquor in the Pacific Northwest.

Business Insider posted three maps (one of which you can see above) from the nonprofit Tax Foundation that show the widely varying tax rates our 50 states place on beer, wine, and spirits. Texas is on the low end of all three categories.

  • Also Jason

    AmyS beat me to it. Jason’s Heid’s insinuation is wrong. There is not a correlation b/w retail liquor prices and spirits taxes.

    I would to see a little more critical thinking about all of this Texas-related data you post and a little less rah-rah, Jason.

  • Monte Malone

    Illinois may have a higher tax, but the actual price paid for booze is lower there than here.
    I wonder if that has anything to do with TABC and the limited availability of the product? (i.e. lack of competition).
    In Chicago, every grocery store, even 7-11 sells liquor.

  • AmyS

    Liquor laws are complex. Blog posts are not. I’m happy for the discussion.

  • Jason Heid

    After Washington privatized its liquor sales last year, the tax on spirits sales to consumers is 20.5% and the tax on sales to restaurants and bars is 13.7%


    You raise the issue of mixed drinks in restaurants, though the map’s notes indicate that it’s only considering rates “applicable to off-premise sales of 40% alcohol by volume (a.b.v.) distilled spirits in 750mL containers.”

    You’re right that Washingtonians aren’t paying the additional general retail sales tax on packaged liquor, as Texans are, but even with that factored in, doesn’t it look the average consumer is coming out quite a bit ahead, on this particular tax?

  • Jason Heid

    We’d need a much deeper analysis to be sure, but I think there is certainly some correlation between retail prices and the taxes imposed on any product, including liquor.

    However, you are correct that the disparity between some of the states is not quite as pronounced as the difference in the numbers on this map might suggest.

    As for being rah-rah about Texas-related data, I don’t see how this post amounts to anything like cheerleading, aside from maybe my headline. And that’s mostly just a joke referring back to the post I published earlier Friday with the BBC’s reasons for why people are moving to Texas.

    I call it a joke because I don’t actually believe that alcohol prices alone are going to prompt anyone to move here. At least I hope not.

  • AmyS

    Spot-checking your claim, I did some checking: 1800 Silver Tequila, 750ml

    Binny’s Beverage Depot (multiple locations, Chicago area) $19.99
    Spec’s (multiple locations, Texas) $23.99

    Somebody’s making something, that’s for sure.

  • nunya

    Just stop moving to Texas. We’re full.