Spending More For A Six-Pack

If you buy bottled beer, you may be getting less change back at the liquor store starting March 1st.  It doesn't matter if it's import or domestic, many beer prices are going up.

"It looks like 30-packs are going up $1 a piece. 12-packs are going up 50 cents to $1," said Tommy Lyncy, the manager at CT Beverage Mart in New Britain.

CT Beverage Mart said it's forced to raise beer prices because its distributors are.  "They are informing us on price increases across the board on every item," Lynch said.

It's all because the state isn't letting distributors use the unclaimed money from bottle returns like the distributors used to.  The way the bottle return works is when you take your empties back to the liquor store they give you 5 cents a bottle or $1.20 a case.

But your empties of course don't just stay at the liquor store.  It's up to distributor to pick them up and take them to the recycler and that's where the costs start to add up.  Distributors pay the retailers to pack up the empties and then they pay drivers to pick them up.

The empties are then loaded onto a trailer and taken to a recycling plant, where the distributors pays to have them recycled.

Jim Stack is the president of Franklin Distributors, Inc.  He said his company used to use unclaimed bottle return money to pay for the recycling costs.

Now a new state law says the distributors have to keep that cash in a separate account that they can't touch.

"We used to do that money to do that to defray that cost," Stack said. "With the state taking it away, we can't use that money anymore. It has to be passed onto consumer."

That's why liquor stores are expected to raise prices March 1st. It's a tough sell for some beer drinkers.

"I'm just a college student trying to get by on a low income so I guess I'm not going to have the frivolity of beer as often," Karyn Danforth of New Britain said.

Burt Marinaro of Terryville says he won't buy his six-pack anymore. "I'll go buy Absolut," he said.

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