How The U.S. Bourbon Industry Could be Hurt by a Trade War

With the Trump Administration contemplating a steel tariff, eyes are turning to other countries to see how they might respond to such a move. According to a recent report, the EU could potentially slap tariffs on American exports of whiskey:

"We'll give it to you straight: If President Trump slaps a tariff on steel, the U.S. bourbon industry might be left reeling.

Trump has long vowed to impose tariffs on some imports, and his administration has recently focused on the steel industry. A blanket tariff on steel wouldn't just hurt China, the frequent target of Trump's trademark trade tirades. It would also deal a blow to allies such as Germany.

According to a report by The Financial Times (behind a paywall), officials in the EU are planning how they'd respond to blanket steel tariff. Their targets, the FT reports, include dairy, orange juice — and whiskey.

A tariff on bourbon, a classic American spirit that is produced only in the U.S., isn't just symbolic. American whiskey has experienced a serious boom in global popularity over the last few years...

[B]ourbon is increasingly popular worldwide. Roxanne Scott of member station WFPL in Louisville, Ky., notes that the EU is 'a major bourbon customer.'

'Data from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States [DISCUS] shows that about 59 percent of the country's bourbon exports went to EU member countries last year,' Scott writes..."

Read more here: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/07/10/536420496/u-s-distillers-brace-for-possible-eu-backlash-against-bourbon

The New York Times also ran an op-ed about how these tariff wars could hurt the bourbon industry: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/11/opinion/will-trump-kill-the-bourbon-boom.html