Why do scotch prices vary so much from state to state?

Discussion in 'The Speakeasy' started by HDPaul, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. I notice, based on posts here on b&b, that scotch prices vary quite a bit in the USA based on state or region?

    Why? Taxes? Demand? Sales volume? Distribution?

    I live in California and shop at bevmo and Costco for scotch and these are the prices I pay:

    Lagavulin 16 on sale at Costco $56
    Glenlivet 12 Costco $22
    Glenlivet 18 sale bevmo $56
    Glenlivet 21 sale bevmo $134
    Glenmorangie 10 bevmo $36
    Bruchladdich rocks bevmo $45
    Bruichladdich 12 bevmo $60ish
    Highland park 12 costco $36
    JW black $25

    All of the above are for 750ml in the last 6 months and does not include sales tax of 9%.

    What are others paying?
  2. djh

    djh Moderator

    I'm not sure how your system works over there from state-to-state, but at those prices I think that I would drink a lot more Highland Park than I do now :biggrin1:
  3. Taxes
  4. State taxes vary...for example here in CA there may be a rise in the cost of alcohol soon. I'm not sure if it passed on not, but there was a proposed alcohol tax that would be added to the current taxes to fund alcohol rehabilitation programs.
  5. The same reason why cigarettes varies, taxes!
  6. I hate you :angry:

    Seriously it's the same up here. But I would say distributors have an influence too. Up here most scotches are cheaper in the next province (New Brunswick), but a few bottles are cheaper in Quebec. So taxes yes, but distribution too.
  7. Taxes are one thing. State liquor laws add to the complexity. You have states in which you have to buy from state liquor stores, so there's no real competition. Here in Texas, there's no shortage of liquor stores, and competition does help with prices. But most Costco warehouses here don't sell 'hard' liquor because TX law requires a separate ownership for the liquor operation.

    You get some good prices on beer and wine, but can't get whisky, vodka, gin etc. from the typical Costco. And let's face it, when there's a Costco nearby, prices at competing stores are generally lower than they'd be otherwise.
  8. rockviper

    rockviper Moderator Contributor

    The ones the employees sample from during breaks and then top-up with water are generally cheaper. :001_tt2:
  9. Here in California we can buy pretty much any liquor, beer or wine at any grocery store.
    I still remember my first visit to Trader Joes after moving here, it was like a kid in a candy store!
  10. In BC we recently got a 12% HST. I'm not sure if the liquor tax is included or on top of the HST. Anyhow a bottle of Glenlivet 12 is about $35-$40 can't remember exactly. Yes it's expensive. Chivas Regal is approx $40 which I'm sure of.
  11. And the grass is greener, too. Sorry, I couldn't resist.
  12. On base package stores FTW!
  13. As in most states, taxes from 'brooze' is their 'Cash Cow', :biggrin1: although in Virginia...our "Guv'ner" would like to 'privatize' the states liquor business :sneaky2:

    Christopher :c2:

  14. You'll end up much better off with privatized liquor, IMO. The State will be able to collect the same amount of taxes with fewer expenses, and competition will bring down costs and increase selection for the consumer.

    Next time you drive north, check out costs and selection in PA stores versus NJ stores. You'll know immediately which ones are state-run and which are free market.
  15. The government decided to add a second tax to alcohol here in MA but we kicked it out last vote so starting jan 1st prices should go down! :)
  16. Chris:
    Ah.....so.....now I understand why Gov. Bob McDonnell wants to do this. :blink:

    Thanx :biggrin1:

    Christopher :a17:
  17. Yes, indeed. I loved the selection and prices in Georgia and in those two regards Virginia just doesn't compare. I used to be able to get a bottle of Capn' Morgan Private Stock for $18 in Georgia, here in VA it's about $27. Other bottles are similarly more expensive, though some are quite a bit higher. Scotches, for some reason, seem to have a higher increase from GA to VA than most other liquors. Plus, it would be great to get liquor from the grocery store or Costco instead of the ABC stores.
  18. TimmyBoston

    TimmyBoston Moderator Emeritus

    Two reasons, 1. Government Regulations. 2. Prices of everything vary from state to state.
  19. I think it's a combination of the booze distributors and regional pricing, more than anything. Case in point, Scotch whiskies are significantly cheaper in California (land of taxes) than Texas (remember the Alamo). For example, Glenfiddich 12/Glenlivet 12 in CA - $20, in Texas, $35. Laphroaig 10 is $30/$45. Lagavulin 16 can be had for $45 if you look around in CA, whereas it's around $80-90 in TX. HOWEVER, Bourbon is cheaper in TX than CA, though not by the same degree as Scotch.

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