Consumer Choice
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Understanding alcohol

In the U.S., a standard drink contains 14g of alcohol. U.S. dietary guidelines recommend that on a daily basis, women not exceed 1 standard drink and men not exceed 2 standard drinks. These common beverages are equal to one standard drink.

12fl oz beer (5% ABV)
12Fl Oz Beer 5 Abv
12fl oz canned cocktail (5% ABV)
12Fl Oz Canned Cocktail 5 Abv
5fl oz wine (12% ABV)
5Fl Oz Wine 12 Abv
1.5fl oz spirit (40% ABV)
15Fl Oz Spirit 40 Abv

Positive drinking

Alcohol is Alcohol

No type of alcohol is “safer” than another; what matters is how much we consume.

one ‘standard’ drink
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14g

The Centers for Disease Control defines one "standard" drink as equal to 14 grams of alcohol, which means a 12-ounce beer with an ABV over 5.0%, has more alcohol content than a standard whiskey serving or canned cocktail.

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Many canned cocktails have a similar or lower alcohol by volume (ABV) than beer – yet antiquated laws impose excessive restrictions on when and where they can be sold.

The federal excise tax for a 12-ounce can of beer at 6% ABV is 5 cents; a wine-based spritzer is taxed at twice that rate (10 cents); and a spirits-based cocktail carries a 13-cent tax rate. They all have the same ABV.

Legislation and public policy need to keep up with changes and innovation.

New products that didn't exist 10 years ago should not be subject to Prohibition-era misconceptions and policies that further burden consumers. Lower taxes on new products that are the same or similar to taxes levied on beer would generate more economic activity and create new jobs.

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Consumers want choices and convenience, not higher taxes.

When buying distilled spirits, consumers are required to pay more in taxes–and often shop in different stores–than they would if they were buying beer. This is the case even though a standard serving of a spirits drink and a standard serving of beer both contain the same amount of alcohol. For example, a cocktail made with 1.5 ounces of tequila or whiskey (40% alcohol-by-volume, or “ABV”) contains the same amount of alcohol as a 12-ounce can of a 5% ABV beer.

 

This is evident with Ready-to-Drink (RTD) alcohol products, a category that includes “canned cocktails” and “hard seltzers.” Despite their similar alcohol content, spirits-based RTDs are taxed higher than other RTDs and are often required to be sold in different stores than beer. 75% of Americans consumers 21+ say there should be no difference where beer and canned cocktails can be sold.

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