No sympathy for cries of impoverishment

Re: 'Booze wars have few winners' (Strategy, Jan. 14/02): Considering that my predecessor, Mr. C.J. Helie held the position of VP of corporate affairs for The Brewers of Ontario for more than 10 years, his comments regarding the relative taxation of beer and spirits are rather surprising.

Re: ‘Booze wars have few winners’ (Strategy, Jan. 14/02): Considering that my predecessor, Mr. C.J. Helie held the position of VP of corporate affairs for The Brewers of Ontario for more than 10 years, his comments regarding the relative taxation of beer and spirits are rather surprising.

Mr. Helie’s characterization of ’83% of every retail sale being tax…’ is rather disingenuous in that the ’83%’ mark-up on spirits includes not only tax but also the distribution and retail costs incurred by the provincial liquor authorities who retail their products.

From another perspective, where ‘Domestic beer is taxed at 55%…,’ brewers pick up the costs of freight and must pay retailing costs.

All things considered, the actual tax load on spirits – especially lower-alcohol spirit products such as coolers – is comparable to that on beer and wine.

So much for the cries of impoverishment from our colleagues at the distilleries….

Usman A. Valiante

Director, Strategic Programs

Brewers of Ontario

Richmond Hill, Ont.