Today, Vermont Governor Phil Scott (R-VT) signed HB 730, a bill to reduce the tax rate for spirits-based ready-to-drink (RTD) products and expand outlets where they can be sold.

“With this new law, Vermont consumers will be able to visit beer and wine retailers to get their favorite ready-to-drink cocktails, and distillers will no longer be burdened with such an excessive tax rate,” said Jay Hibbard, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Senior Vice President of State Government Relations. “States across the nation are looking at ways to create a more level playing field for spirits-based ready-to-drink products, and Vermont is now one of the leaders in that area.  Treating products with the same or similar alcohol-by-volume fairly just makes sense, and this measure increases consumer convenience while supporting local businesses. We are grateful for Governor Scott’s action on this front.”

Prior to this law, spirits-based RTD products were only available in 81 state-operated stores. Now, these products will be available in more than 1,000 additional retail outlets.

The law will also reduce the tax on spirits-based RTD products from $7.68/gallon to $1.10/gallon (implied excise tax rate based on markup, taxes and fees currently assessed by the state), and will become effective on July 1.

Twenty-four states already have lower tax rates for lower-abv spirits-based products. In fact, last year bills to reduce the state excise tax on spirits-based RTDs passed in Michigan and Nebraska. At least 12 states have introduced bills so far this year to create a more level playing field for spirits-based RTDs in support of consumers and small businesses in their communities.