The confusion is not because they have had one too many glasses of cider, and are a little bit tipsy, but as a result of taxes. Interestingly, every American state sets its own tax rate for alcoholic drinks, and one of the key factors is what percentage of alcohol they contain. Beverages that contain less alcohol, like beer, are taxed less than those that contain more, like wine and spirits. Most drinkers consider cider to be more like a beer than a sparkling wine. However, while Massachusetts’ law states that ciders containing 3-6% alcohol is taxed at 3 cents per gallon, which is considerably less than the tax on beer, if the cider contains more than 6% of alcohol, it is taxed at a pricey 70 cents per gallon, which puts it in the same tax bracket as sparkling wine and champagne!
Cider is usually considered a refreshing everyday drink but, unlike sparkling wines like champagne and prosecco, it is not considered a luxury product. As such, for producers and consumers, Strong cider could prove incredibly expensive. But never fear! Law-makers in Massachusetts are already addressing the problem. A bill has been put forward to allow ciders up to 8.5% alcohol to have their tax changed to 3 cents a gallon. This will make cider more affordable, allowing it to take its rightful place next to beer as a fun everyday tipple!