Cook County beverage tax begins: Here’s what products you’ll pay more for

CHICAGO — It's going to cost a lot more to buy sugary drinks in Cook County.

The penny-per-ounce tax went into effect overnight. However, the future of the tax is uncertain after the Illinois Retail Merchants Association on Tuesday appealed a judge's dismissal of a lawsuit to bar the tax.

Under the tax, drinks in a bottle, or from a fountain machine, are taxable. But on-demand, custom-sweetened beverages, such as those mixed by a server, aren't subject to the tax.

Here's how the tax affects you

What will be taxed:

  • Regular and diet sodas
  • Ready to drink sweetened coffees and teas
  • Sports and energy drinks
  • Any non-100% fruit or vegetable juice

What won't be taxed:

  • 100% fruit juice
  • Unsweetened sparkling waters
  • Juice concentrates and drink mixes like Crystal Light
  • Custom-sweetened drinks
  • Milk and infant formula
  • Drinks for medical use

Abid Moinuddin owns Chicken Planet in Chicago's Loop. Soda at the restaurant was $1 a glass with free refills. Now he says he doesn't know what to charge.

Moinuddin reports he pays $75 for a box of soda mix. Starting Wednesday, he'll pay $35 more in taxes. He says refills won't be free.

More info here from CookCountyIL.gov.