Sure, California is a high tax state — but not when you’re buying beer and whiskey

California may be regarded as a high tax state — but not when you’re buying booze.

The state’s excise tax on beer ranked 30th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, a new study from Washington’s Tax Foundation says.

A separate report by the same research group found that California’s tax on distilled spirits ranked 40th.

“It seems that California is one of the friendlier states to alcohol,” said Adam Hoffer, director of excise tax policy at the Tax Foundation.

California’s state beer tax has remained steady at 20 cents a gallon since 1991. The excise tax on distilled spirits, such as whiskey and vodka, that are 100 proof or less is $3.30 a gallon.

Wyoming has the lowest beer tax, 2 cents a gallon, followed by Missouri and Wisconsin, each at 6 cents. The highest tax is in Tennessee, $1.29, followed by Alaska at $1.07.

Of course, none of this means that’s the only tax people pay on beer. There can also be local and federal taxes.

“Taxes are the single most expensive ingredient in beer,” Hoffer said.

He found that state and local beer taxes “add more to the final price of beer than the labor and raw materials combined.’’ Taxes often account for 40% of the price of a bottle or can of beer.

Part of the reason is the federal government collects a tax whose amount depends on a company’s production, location and quantity.

In the distilled spirits area, Washington state has the highest excise tax, $36.55 a gallon, with Oregon next at $22.85.

Lowest taxes are in Wyoming and New Hampshire.

“These two control states gain revenue directly from alcohol sales through government-run stores and have set prices low enough that they are comparable to buying spirits without taxes,” the study said.

Hoffer could not say with certainty why California’s beer or distilled spirits taxes were lower than other states. Cal Matters’ Dan Walters reported last year that the liquor industry has been a powerful player that’s helped keep taxes down for years.

The lower taxes have helped spur growth, said Brian Crawford, president and chief executive officer of the Beer Institute in Washington D.C., which represents the industry.

“Previous tax reductions have enabled brewers and beer importers to make long-term business decisions like reinvesting in their operations, hiring new employees, and continuing to innovate and brew America’s favorite beers,” he said.