Whiskey Makers Meet To Call For Removal Of Tariffs

July 27, 2018 - 3:28 pm

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WCBS 880/AP) -- Calling themselves “one big whiskey family,” the leaders of nine groups representing whiskey makers across the globe met in the heart of bourbon country Thursday to call for the removal of tariffs imposed on the liquor.

Kentucky Distillery Association President Eric Gregory said the goal is to forge a united strategy in making a case to world leaders in promoting free and fair trade.

Participants included groups representing the Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky industries and spirits producers in Japan, Canada, and Europe.

“They’re very concerned, because in the escalating trade war that we’re seeing, the European Union has slapped a 25 percent tariff on whiskey and bourbon from the United States, Canada a 10 percent tariff, Mexico a 5 percent tariff,” CBS News’ Jim Krasula told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “The bourbon and whiskey from the United States have become incredibly popular, especially in Europe, among young people – millennials. They feel it’s the true American drink; the true American spirit, and the industry is very concerned about the fallout from all of this.”

Smaller craft distillers, which have proliferated in recent years along the same lines as craft brewers in the beer industry, are especially worried about how the tariffs will affect business.

“The Jim Beams of the world; the Jack Daniels of the world, they can take a financial hit, obviously, easier than these smaller companies can, and as a result, they’re very concerned,” Krasula said.

The distillers want talks and discussions about trade and tariffs with the Trump and administration, and that might be happening.

“There was word earlier this week, Marla, that the European Union said in a statement that it is willing to talk to American trade representatives about all of this,” Krasula said.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)