Federal Taxes and Regulation Policy for Distilled Spirits

The Distilled Spirits Industry: An Economic Driver

  • There are more than 2,600 distilleries nationwide, contributing to the vibrancy of the manufacturing, hospitality, tourism, and agriculture industries.
  • The economic activities of exporting, importing, and sale and distribution within the U.S. support approximately 1.7 million U.S. jobs. 
  • In 2021, U.S. distilled spirits exports totaled $1.6 billion. While the EU and UK tariffs on distilled spirits have been suspended, we continue to seek a permanent return to duty-free trade. 
  • The industry is highly taxed and regulated. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) within the Department of Treasury regulates the industry and collects excise taxes. In 2021 alone, distillers paid nearly $6.9 billion in federal excise taxes. 

The 2025-2030 Dietary Guidelines and the Standard Drink Definition

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) review the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs). The DGAs are widely used guidance and a critically important reference point for healthcare providers and practitioners. The 2025 DGA process is underway, and we urge policymakers to ensure it is transparent, evidence-based and free of bias and conflicts of interest. 

The DGAs should continue to address the moderate consumption of alcohol and reaffirm the importance of the standard drink or “drink equivalent” to ensure that adult consumers are educated about how much alcohol they are consuming. Since the first DGAs were issued in 1980, the federal government has advised adults who choose to consume alcohol to do so in moderation.  

According to the DGAs, one standard drink contains the same amount of alcohol (i.e., 0.6 ounces of ethanol,) and moderate drinking is defined as two standard drinks or less in a day for men and one drink or less in a day for women. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “it is the amount of alcohol consumed that affects a person most, not the type.” That’s why, when it comes to drinking alcohol: There is no beverage of moderation, only the practice of moderation. 


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Join Our Efforts

The Distilled Spirits Council Political Action Committee (DISPAC) has promoted the election of pro-business candidates across the United States since 1993. DISPAC exists to help fund the races of candidates and incumbents on both sides of the aisle who support distilled spirits producers and importers. Your voluntary contributions are critical to our role in the political process and have helped us establish our strong political backbone for decades.  The threat of taxation and additional regulatory burdens are always looming so please consider joining our efforts today!  To learn more about DISPAC, contact Jack Thompson at [email protected].

How You Can Help

Spirits United is a community of advocates united with a common goal to ensure adult consumers can enjoy distilled spirits where they want, how they want, and when they want. Spirits United brings together professionals in the distilled spirits industry, partners, customers and consumers.