Alcohol-Related Harms

PSR NATIONAL SUMMARY

Icon depicting alcohol beverage bottles and a wine glassThe Prevention Status Reports highlight—for all 50 states and the District of Columbia—the status of public health policies and practices designed to address 10 important public health problems and concerns. This report focuses on the following evidence-based policies recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force for preventing alcohol-related harms (1,2):

  • Increasing state excise taxes on beer
  • Increasing state excise taxes on distilled spirits
  • Increasing state excise taxes on wine
  • Having commercial host (dram shop) liability laws

Other strategies recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force and US Preventive Services Task Force for reducing alcohol-related harms include regulating alcohol outlet density, avoiding further privatization of retail alcohol sales, and providing adults (including pregnant women) with screening and brief intervention for excessive alcohol use (3–5).

State beer excise tax

The excise tax rate, in dollars per gallon, imposed by the state on beer containing 5% alcohol by volume. State beer excise tax does not include any additional taxes, such as those based on price rather than volume (e.g., ad valorem or sales taxes) that states have implemented at the wholesale or retail level.

RatingState beer excise tax
Green≥$1.00 per gallon
Yellow$0.50–$0.99 per gallon
Red<$0.50 per gallon


How These Ratings Were Determined
Data on state beer excise taxes were obtained from the Alcohol Policy Information System (6). As of January 1, 2014, state beer excise taxes ranged from $0.02 to $1.29 per gallon across states for which data were available. The ratings reflect where each state’s tax fell within this range. For states with different tax rates for off-premises (e.g., liquor stores) and on-premises (e.g., restaurants) retailers, the off-premises tax rate was reported.

State distilled spirits excise tax

The excise tax rate, in dollars per gallon, imposed by the state on distilled spirits containing 40% alcohol by volume. State distilled spirits excise tax does not include any additional taxes, such as those based on price rather than volume (e.g., ad valorem or sales taxes) that states have implemented at the wholesale or retail level.

RatingState distilled spirits excise tax
Green≥$8.00 per gallon
Yellow$4.00–$7.99 per gallon
Red<$4.00 per gallon


How These Ratings Were Determined
Data on state distilled spirits excise taxes were obtained from the Alcohol Policy Information System (7). As of January 1, 2014, state distilled spirits excise taxes ranged from $1.50 to $14.25 per gallon across states for which data were available. The ratings reflect where each state’s tax fell within this range. For states with different tax rates for off-premises (e.g., liquor stores) and on-premises (e.g., restaurants) retailers, the off-premises tax rate was reported.

State wine excise tax

The excise tax rate, in dollars per gallon, imposed by the state on wine containing 12% alcohol by volume. State wine excise tax does not include any additional taxes, such as those based on price rather than volume (e.g., ad valorem or sales taxes) that states have implemented at the wholesale or retail level.

RatingState wine excise tax
Green≥$2.00 per gallon
Yellow$1.00–$1.99 per gallon
Red<$1.00 per gallon


How These Ratings Were Determined
Data on state wine excise taxes were obtained from the Alcohol Policy Information System (8). As of January 1, 2014, state wine excise taxes ranged from $0.11 to $2.50 per gallon across states for which data were available. The ratings reflect where each state’s tax fell within this range. For states with different tax rates for off-premises (e.g., liquor stores) and on-premises (e.g., restaurants) retailers, the off-premises tax rate was reported.

Commercial host (dram shop) liability laws

Laws that permit alcohol retail establishments to be held liable for injuries or harms caused by illegal service to intoxicated or underage customers.

RatingState had
GreenCommercial host liability with no major limitations
YellowCommercial host liability with major limitations
RedNo commercial host liability


How These Ratings Were Determined
These ratings reflect data provided by Alcohol Policy Consultations and ChangeLab Solutions on current state laws for commercial host liability (9–11). A state’s commercial host liability law was considered to have major limitations if it 1) covered underage patrons or intoxicated adults but not both, 2) required increased evidence for finding liability, 3) set limitations on damage awards, or 4) set restrictions on who may be sued.

References

  1. Community Preventive Services Task Force. Preventing excessive alcohol consumption: increasing alcohol taxesExternal Link. In: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Updated Jun 2007.
  2. Community Preventive Services Task Force. Preventing excessive alcohol consumption: dram shop liabilityExternal Link. In: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Updated Mar 2010.
  3. Community Preventive Services Task Force. Preventing excessive alcohol consumption: regulation of alcohol outlet densityExternal Link. In: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Updated Feb 2007.
  4. Community Preventive Services Task Force. Preventing excessive alcohol consumption: privatization of retail alcohol salesExternal Link. In: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Updated Apr 2011.
  5. US Preventive Services Task Force. Alcohol Misuse: Screening and Behavioral Counseling Interventions in Primary CareExternal Link. Updated May 2013.
  6. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol beverages taxes: beerExternal Link. Alcohol Policy Information System. Accessed Jun 17, 2015.
  7. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol beverages taxes: distilled spiritsExternal Link. Alcohol Policy Information System. Accessed Jun 17, 2015.
  8. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol beverages taxes: wineExternal Link. Alcohol Policy Information System. Accessed Jun 17, 2015.
  9. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage DrinkingExternal Link. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2015.
  10. Mosher JF, Cohen EN, Jernigan DH. Commercial host (dram shop) liability: current status and trendsExternal Link. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2013;45(3):347–53.
  11. ChangeLab Solutions. 2015 PSR Update: Status of State Dram Shop LiabilityExternal Link. Nov 30, 2015.


**State count includes District of Columbia.

Page last reviewed: 4/10/2019