When I woke up this morning and read the news, I was surprised to find out that tax on beer went up by 100%. Yes, overnight, while I slept, someone decided to raise taxes on beer to over 4 ILS per liter of beer.
I have become rather attached to the bubbly beverage over the last few years. I am not a heavy drinker, but for me and many other Israelis, a beer hits the spot on summer evenings while relaxing after a long day at work. Sometimes a beer is perfect to accompany a Shabbat morning Cholent. It is an innocent pleasure that I hardly consider a vice.
It was insulting that the tax on beer was so significantly raised in combination with a tax hike on cigarettes. The health risks associated with cigarette smoking are clear, and increasing taxation can arguably be a step to assist people to stop smoking. Beer, on the other hand, has been shown to be a healthy drink when consumed in moderation.
The government apparently believes that it can make twice as much money from tax on beer now that taxes have been raised. I suggest that we don’t let them.
If the Israeli consumer buys half as much beer now, after the tax hike, than he did before the tax hike, the government will not make any money from this foolish tax hike. I’m not suggesting a complete boycott of beer, but I am suggesting temporarily limiting buying beer as a simple way to convince the government to cancel the tax hike.
If you still want a cold brew on a hot Israeli summer day, how can you boycott your beer and drink it too? Simple, home- brewing. For the last few years I’ve been home-brewing beer a number of times of year. Each batch is about 20 liters and most batches have turned out great.
Home-brewing gives you flexibility to brew types of beer that you like and to experiment with different styles and flavors of beer. It’s fun, and not too complicated. Home brewing kits are available in a number of stores in Israel which provide courses for beginner home-brewers. Trust me, it will impress your friends if you show up at a party with a six-pack of home brew. Also, the cost per bottle of home brew is less than the cost of store bought beer, even before the tax hike.
Many social protests in modern history revolved around taxes on food and drink. One of the most notable protests was the Boston Tea Party, in the pre-revolutionary United States. Let us follow in the way of one of the American Founding Fathers involved in that protest, Samuel Adams, by resisting unfair taxation, and by brewing beer.