WSJ | U.S. Whiskey Is ‘Collateral Damage’ in Trans-Atlantic Trade Fight

By Kristina Peterson and Kim Mackrael

Brooke Glover wants to ship her award-winning, West Virginia-made whiskey to Europe, where fans have been clamoring for a taste. But she has no plans to expand across the Atlantic just yet. Starting in 2024, each bottle shipped risks facing a 50% tax.  

Swilled Dog distillery is one of many American whiskey makers falling victim to a fight that has nothing to do with bourbon or rye. The threatened tariff is the European Union’s retaliation for U.S. tariffs on European steel and aluminum, which themselves were part of tougher trade measures designed to boost U.S. manufacturers.

In this case, tariffs erected to protect some U.S. industries swung back to hurt other homegrown small businesses. The bar fight over whiskey is just one example. EU tariffs retaliating against the U.S. also struck Harley-Davidson motorcycles, orange juice and Levi’s jeans. Like whiskey, those products remain on the EU’s list of suspended tariffs.

“We’re just collateral damage,” Glover said.

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