“They are really worried this is going to hit them hard,” Schaier said.
Though the tax directly affects whole distributors, manufacturers and brew pubs, business advocates say the expense ultimately would be passed along to consumers through prices at a time when they can least afford it.
“This would be tough for consumers to absorb now,” Schaier said.
Sherry Williams, one of the owners of Hampstead Center Market, said a beer tax increase would be bad for business and customers.
“We’d have to pass it on to the customers,” Williams said.
She said she hopes the Legislature isn’t in a hurry to raise the beer tax.
“The Patriots’ game might not have a lot of sales,” she quipped.
While opposition is building, the bill’s fate is in the hands of political leaders in Concord.
“I think it all depends on the leadership of the House and the leadership of the Senate and the governor’s office,” Dumais said.
The legislative rank-and-file may have trouble with the tax hike, too.
“I’m more likely to oppose any increase,” said Rep. Patrick Bick, R-Salem. “Down here at the border we depend so much on the customers coming over.”