Nips bringing big money to local towns
Statistics released by a wine and spirits group Thursday shows that the five-cent state tax on “nip” bottles of liquor is bringing welcome revenue to towns and cities, including those in Eastern Connecticut.
In fact, it has generated $4.2 million for municipalities across the state in its first full year, ending on Sept. 30.
The statistics also show that residents knock back a lot of the small plastic liquor bottles, many of which then end up littering the sides of roads.
For instance more than 872,000 nip bottles were sold in Norwich during the six months between April 1 and Sept. 30. In Groton more than 673,000 were sold and New London more than 553,000. Statewide, more than 46.5 million nips were sold over the past six months. The state has a population of 3.6 million people.
Over the one-year period ending Sept. 30, Norwich received $100,195 from the nip tax, Groton received $76,689 and New London $62,212.
Under the law passed last year, a five-cent surcharge is placed on the sale of each 50- milliliter bottle when it is purchased. Each April and October municipalities receive five cents for each nip bottle sold within their borders during the preceding six months.
The program, which was proposed by Three Tiers for Connecticut, is designed to help cities and towns collect and dispose of the bottles. Three Tiers is a non-profit group that represents major wine and spirits wholesalers, suppliers and retailers.
“This program has over-performed our expectations in its first year, and we’re thrilled about it,” said Lawrence F. Cafero, Jr., president and treasurer of Three Tiers for Connecticut, in a press release about the revenue. “Now, as intended, that money generated by the environmental fees is in the hands of our cities and towns, many of which are using those dollars to keep their roadsides, waterways and public spaces litter-free.”
Some towns have used the funding to hire recycling coordinators and to partner with local non-profit organizations on litter cleanups.
“This simple program is a national model and it’s making a real difference in our state,” added Cafero, who is also the executive director of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Connecticut. “Connecticut’s wine and spirits industry recognized that litter from our 50 milliliter nip containers was a problem that needed to be addressed, so our members stepped up with a solution that provides direct funding to municipalities so they have more resources to combat litter. We’re excited to watch these nickels get put to work.”