Covered Beverages

The Philadelphia Beverage Tax—a tax on the distribution of sweetened beverages - is not a sales tax, and is not paid by the consumer. Most often the PBT is paid by a beverage distributor, or sometimes the dealer (a retailer such as a grocery store or restaurant). Some distributors and dealers are choosing to pass the cost on to you by increasing the price for sweetened beverages, although the law does not require it. If a dealer says that it increased the price of a product due to the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, but the tax does not apply to the distribution of that product, please bring it to the attention of the store manager immediately.

If you believe you have been harmed by unlawful business practices, please visit the website for the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection or call their Consumer Protection Help Line at 800-441-2555.

The tax applies to the distribution of any nonalcoholic beverage with real or artificial sweeteners. Affected drinks include but are not limited to the following:
  • Sports drinks
  • Sweetened water
  • Energy drinks
  • Pre-sweetened coffees & teas
  • Nonalcoholic cocktail mixers
  • And more

Distribution of 100 percent juices are only subject to the tax if the phrase “added sugar” is on the label, or if those juices have an added sweetener, which can be determined by reading the nutrition label.

While some sweetened milk substitutes are subject to the tax when distributed, many are not. See a list of tax-exempt milk substitutes here:

  • Soy milk
    • 8th Continent Original Soy Milk
    • Kikkoman Pearl Organic Soy Milk, Vanilla or Chocolate
    • Pacific Natural Ultra Soy Milk, Plain or Vanilla
    • Westsoy Soy Milk Organic Plus, Plain
    • White Wave Silk Soy Milk, Original
  • Lactose-free cow’s milk brands such as Lactaid and Horizon, or store brands

Want the specifics? Download the Philly Bev Tax regulations for detailed information about taxable products and taxable transactions.