It's not exactly stop-the-presses stuff, but it turns out that for the first two months of collections, the imposition of the sales tax on beer, wine and alcohol in Massachusetts has exceeded projections by about 33 percent.
The tax took effect August 1, but revenue from sales tax is not reported until the 20th of the month, following, so the first month's collection was recorded in September. Now, with October collections in hand, the combined two month collection of sales tax on beer, wine and alcohol totals $20.5 million, beating the estimate of $15.6 million for those two months by nearly $5 million.
September collection was $9.2 million (estimate was $7.9 million); October collection was $11.3 million (estimate was $7.7 million). The overall revenue collection estimate for this fiscal year from this new piece of the sales tax is $79 million.
There is also a way to measure alcohol, beer and wine sales on a baseline basis. The state levies an excise tax on beer and wine (wholesalers pay it and it is included in the retail price) that amounts to a penny for a bottle of beer or 11-cents for a 750 ml bottle of wine, for instance. That excise tax has not changed.
Bottom line: the excise tax collection for September and October is up 1.1 percent, so at this stage of the fiscal year demand for beer, wine and alcohol has slightly increased even with the imposition of the 6.25 percent sales tax.
If you'll pardon the pun, the liquor business may be recession-proof.