It’s worth noting that all the southern states have high excise taxes on beer, where the idea of drinking being sinful is, I think, more prevalent.That's a good point. But something else is worth noting, too. Look at the map. Now look at the high-tax states. Utah, the South, Oklahoma--these are not generally regarded as brewing hot-spots (click to enlarge).
I don't want to identify the direction of causality here, but it is striking to look at the difference among the categories of taxation and see how many breweries they have per-capita. Within these categories, there's one brewery for every:
Low tax states: 164,728 peopleSo medium-tax states are have about as many breweries per-capita as the national average. But low-tax states have 2.2 times more breweries per-capita than high-tax states.
Med tax states: 198,331 people
High tax states: 366,526 people
National average: 204,906 people
If Oregon were to pass the current beer tax as written, we'd go from 8 cents a gallon to $1.67 a gallon--60 cents higher than Alaska, the current high. Maybe there's no causality here--maybe Southerners just don't do microbrews. But maybe there is a relationship. This is what gives me the willies--I'm just not willing to take such a massive gamble that there isn't a relationship.