Distillers to discuss ‘devastating’ retaliatory tariffs

More than 150 US distillers will gather in Washington DC this week to discuss the “devastating impacts” retaliatory tariffs have had on spirits exports and to call for permanent tax cuts for the industry.

From 22 July to 24 July, more than 150 distillers will attend the 10th annual Public Policy Conference, co-hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council of the US and the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA).

The conference will host several legislative and regulatory sessions on key federal and state issues affecting the distilled spirits industry.

As part of this, distillers plan to discuss with lawmakers how numerous retaliatory tariffs have affected American distillers, particularly those looking to expand to international markets.

In addition to this, members will take part in more than 250 congressional visits with their home state legislators to call for support to make a federal excise tax cut on distilled spirits permanent.

The Craft Beverage Modernization Reform Act (HR 1175/S 362) was brought into effect in 2017. However, unless the law receives congressional approval, the tax cut for distillers will expire on 31 December.

Chris Swonger, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the US, said: “These distillers will be delivering a unified message to legislative leaders on Capitol Hill at a critical time.

“The federal tax cut on spirits is set to expire at the end of the year and the negative impacts of the retaliatory tariffs against US spirits producers are mounting.”

Speakers at the conference include Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau officials, senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), co-sponsor of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (S.362), senator Rob Portman (R-OH), and senator Jon Tester (D-MT).

Margie AS Lehrman, CEO of the American Craft Spirits Association, said: “This is a historic moment for our industry as more than 150 distillers from 33 states descend on Washington to rally further support for this critical, urgent legislation.

“Without permanent and immediate federal excise tax reform, the stability of this vibrant industry and the industries that surround us – agriculture, tourism and the broader hospitality industry – are bound to be paralysed.”

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