July 31, 2008

BRIEF: Other States Watching How Nebraska Handles ‘Alcopops’

By Martha Stoddard, Omaha World-Herald, Neb.

Jul. 31--LINCOLN -- Other states are watching what the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission decides about taxing and regulating flavored malt beverages, a national alcohol policy consultant said today.

By deciding to treat the products as distilled spirits, Nebraska would add momentum to national efforts to keep the drinks out of the hands of minors, said James Mosher, the California-based consultant.

But Marc Sorini, with the Flavored Malt Beverage Coalition, said raising the taxes on drinks such as Mikes Hard Lemonade and Smirnoff Ice would hurt Nebraska businesses and consumers both.

He told the commission that the state's resources would be better spent trying to reduce youth access to alcohol generally.

The three-member commission is considering a proposed rule that would continue the state's current policy of taxing and regulating flavored malt beverages as beers. The commission will not vote on the proposal until September or October.


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