Covered Beverages

The Philadelphia Beverage Tax—a tax on the distribution of sweetened beverages intended for retail—is not a sales tax. That means that it’s the distributors’ responsibility to remit the tax to the City, not yours. Some distributors and dealers are choosing to pay the tax by passing the cost on to you in the form of a cost increase. If you think a dealer has indicated that a product falls under the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, but that product does not include a cost increase, please bring it to the attention of the store manager.

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.