Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) recent proposal to raise the markup on distilled spirits [“Virginia plans 565 layoffs, budget cuts,” Metro, Oct. 16] is extremely shortsighted and will be a blow to the commonwealth’s artisanal distilleries.
Spirits producers already face an uphill battle in Virginia. Our products are available only in a fraction of the number of retail outlets compared with beer and wine, and the Virginia excise tax on distilled spirits is the third-highest in the country. Since 1980, there have been 10 tax increases on spirits and none on beer and wine. This increases the price disparity between these products.
A better solution: Expand the number of retail outlets where distilled spirits are available. We are not looking for special treatment; we simply are tired of being singled out for tax increases.
Scott Harris, Purcellville
The writer is founder of Catoctin Creek Distillery.