The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that sweetened malt beverages known to critics as "alcopops" should be taxed as hard liquor instead of beer.
The ruling means the state can tax malt beverages at $3.75 per
gallon, instead of the 31-cent-per-gallon tax imposed on beer.
Critics say the beverages are aimed at young customers because
of their sweet taste. The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission
classified brewed malt beverages as beer in 2006, to align the
state's alcoholic beverage policies with federal rules.
The court said the commission exceeded its authority when it
classified the beverages as beer, but acknowledged that the
Legislature could change the definition. Lawmakers are scheduled to
vote on a bill that would classify such beverages as beer.