Seattle’s Soda Tax Has Been Great for…Beer Sales?

new studyDo you pour cold beer? on Seattle’s soda tax. Published in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONEIt reveals the fact that I have called this city home since 2005 adopted2018 saw a soda-tax in Seattle. Since then, residents have switched to beer and stopped drinking soda. According to the study, Seattle’s soda taxes “induced” customers to drink more beer.

Christopher Snowdon: “The Seattle good folks responded to the tax on sugary beverages by purchasing more beer.” Director of Lifestyle Economics at The Institute of Economic AffairsA leading critic of the nanny-state, tweetedAfter the release of the study.

Julien Lader and Lisa M. Powell, University of Illinois-Chicago researchers, compared beer sales in Seattle before and after the adoption of soda taxes with similar sales in Portland, Oregon.

“At two-years post-tax implementation, [the]The volume of beer sold in Seattle was 7% higher than Portland,” according to the authors. Even though soda tax supporters claim that there is no such thing as (The majority of the evidence is missingDespite their success in combatting obesity, the authors from the PLoS research note the potential dangers associated with “Alcoholism in excess [include]Higher risk for fatal motor accidents/deaths. Liver cirrhosis. More sexually transmitted disease, crime, violence, and accidents at work.” Also: obesity.

Although there are many dangers associated with excessive alcohol intake, those who were able to see the truth knew that soda would be replaced by booze when the tax was levied on it. For example, researchers in the study note that “A potential consequence unintended of this tax policy would be the induction to substitute alcoholic beverages.

A few years ago I submitted an essay to the Cato Institute debate series regarding soda taxes. Snowdon was the main commentator.

Snowdon: “Drinking soda does not cause obesity. Consumers can switch easily to higher-calorie foods if one item becomes more expensive.” ExplainedHis great essay riffs upon a Pepsi drinking man who turns to beer when he is hit with too many soda taxes.

Snowdon was not a Pepsi-drinker, but her decision to switch from soda beer to beer was supported by data. My! EssayThis link takes you to an article that shows high soda taxes have been linked to higher beer purchases. 

People will also buy less if they are taxed enough. Indeed, various ReportsHave indicated that the soda tax is causedSeattle has seen a drop in soda consumption. This has caused some to ArgumentThe tax “works really well.” This is especially true for those who own a brewery!

Seattleites aren’t the only ones who have changed to beer from soda. I suspect city residents likely might have swapped out soda for liquor, too—the PLoS study didn’t examine liquor sales—but Washington State’s High liquor taxesThese make it seem trivial to have a soda tax in Seattle, and likely made beer Seattle’s substitute for soda.

Interestingly, Soda taxes in America have disappeared in recent decades. I’m not sure why. California’s (and) excellent tax system is what I assumed. The 2018 Statewide Elections are a startling (and exciting) feat. banThe new soda tax helped to dampen enthusiasm among Cali-covetous activists throughout the country. But a switch in consumer palates—particularly among The White Claw group—may play a role, too. It is possible that policymakers recognize that soda consumption has been declining for many years now without any targeted taxes. Perhaps this trend has accelerated among the younger generation. Therefore, tax policies that were not economically sound years ago may be less appealing today.Whatever the reason, momentum seems to be dead for these taxes.

This is good news. After all, people who understand the impact of such taxes—from their Regressive natureTo their It is a complete lack of impact—always found them to be a bad idea.

Guy Bentley of Reason Foundation wrote many years ago, “It is hard to overstate their abject failure to deliver on the promised benefits,” Washington Post op-ed. “Soda taxes have not reduced obesity anywhere in the United States or the rest of the globe.”

While it wasn’t surprising that Seattleans switched to beer from soda, this new research data may surprise some. The last year saw the Seattle Times reportedThe city’s liquor and wine consumption increased during the pandemic. However, beer was Seattle’s favorite tipple. “Beer and hard cider did not gain popularity in Seattle during the pandemic.”