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Editorial response to Shelton Brothers Importers

We suppose we’re lumped into the “blogger thralls,” according to Shelton Brothers Importers, and therefore too ill-informed to understand the recent New York State (NYS) Supreme Court ruling on fees that were waived for New York brewers. While Shelton Bros. was certainly within its rights to protest the laws that made out-of-state brewers and distributors pay more to do business in New York, what it conveniently leaves out is that New York brewers and employees pay property, sales, and income tax to New York, which Shelton Bros. does not.

What Shelton Bros. essentially downplays is that the law made it more expensive for it to sell to the large New York market alone. It was not more expensive to do any business. We’re sure Massachusetts and other New England states have their own import laws and fees, but, let’s face it, the New York market is much larger than all of the New England states combined, and Shelton Bros. wanted access to that without the fees, understandably, but this was glossed-over in the Facebook response. It says that it is content with having the playing field leveled, but the supposed level playing field has actually tilted towards importers, as they don’t have to pay to brew in New York where it is more expensive to run a business.

The law exempting NYS brewers from certain beer taxes was encouraging growth in that market. It can’t be denied. The loss of the exemption will hurt that growth. We don’t think we’re being emotionally fraught by pointing this out.

One thing we all agree on though, the “brand registration” fees are simply a way for the NYS Legislators to raise taxes without calling it a tax. When those go, all consumers win.

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