Home » (Updated) Associated Press: Tariffs stir unrest among American whiskey producers

(Updated) Associated Press: Tariffs stir unrest among American whiskey producers

By Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 21, 2018) — Much of the rye whiskey aging in hundreds of barrels at Catoctin Creek Distillery in Virginia could end up being consumed in Europe, a market the 9-year-old distilling company has cultivated at considerable cost.

But an escalating trade dispute has the distillery’s co-founder and general manager, Scott Harris, worried those European sales could evaporate as tariffs drive up the price of his whiskey in markets where consumers have plenty of spirits to choose from. For more on this story, please go to Kentucky.com.

Kentucky Distillers’ Association President Eric Gregory released the following statement:

“As we have said for the past few months, there are no winners in a trade war, only casualties and consequences. The KDA and its members believe that tariffs and retaliatory measures will have a significant impact on bourbon investment, employment and economic growth throughout the commonwealth.

“As a uniquely American product, bourbon and distilled spirits accounted for more than $450 million in Kentucky exports worldwide in 2017, a 23 percent increase over the previous year. Of that, nearly $200 million was exported to EU countries, which has been growing at a rate topping 10 percent annually over the last five years.

“An extended trade war would not only harm our iconic industry, but also Kentucky’s farm families, cooperages, glass and other suppliers, hospitality and tourism partners, and ultimately, our loyal consumers through higher prices and limited availability.

“Kentucky bourbon brings people together. As a longtime proponent of free and fair trade, the KDA strongly encourages the administration, EU leaders and all our trading partners to sit down over a glass of our signature spirit and resolve their differences so we can get back to the business of crafting the world’s finest whiskey for all the world to enjoy.”