It's not uncommon for the price of a bottle to be used as a qualifier to why a bourbon or other whisky is considered different or better (value) than another, and it's commonly used as the primary reason why otherwise good or great bourbon is passed up on store shelves.
I'm curious if we recognize how wide the retail price gap is between the same bottle of bourbon that shows up in Texas, Virginia or California due to alcohol or other "sin" taxes on distilled spirits.
Let's start by using a standard, commonly available bottle as an example; Maker's Mark, which is distributed nationwide almost exclusively by Southern as far as I can tell. It's not uncommon for a producer and distributor to have what amounts to be a national contract price (though it's technically illegal) so let's assume a 750ml bottle of MM is purchased by every state distributor for $10.
I am only familiar with my state, Washington, so I will show what a bottle of $10 product arriving into the state ends up costing at retail. Be prepared for four state taxes/fees in addition to the commercial markups.
The distributor pays a 10% state license fee on all product they purchase.
The distributor marks up their product 20% to 40%.
The retailer pays a 17% state liquor control board license fee on all product they purchase.
The retailer marks up their product 30% to 50%.
$20.07/$27.03 ** this is the price on a shelf tag **
The consumer pays a 20.5% state sales tax.
The consumer pays a state liter tax of $3.77 per liter ($2.83 on a 750ml).
$27.01/$35.40 ** this is the price we pay **
These are quite accurate totals based on prices I see around town for the lowest cost (big box beverage or Costco) to the highest (small independent liquor store). It gets pretty outrageous with higher priced products too. One of my favorite small stores offered me a bottle of PHC 7th at their best non-gouging price, but it was still $155 out the door.
Anyone else care to share how your state would tax that same bottle of MM?