Whiskey is joining beer on the long list of industries that will be negatively impacted by President Donald Trump’s tariffs on aluminum and steel. Paul Varga, the CEO of one of the largest liquor companies in the world, is saying that it will be an “unfortunate and unintended victim” of the tariffs, according to CNN Money.
Varga is the CEO of Brown-Forman, which makes whiskeys like Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve and Old Forester, as well as vodka, scotch and tequilas like Herradura and El Jimador. The company isn’t directly hurt by more expensive steel and aluminum, but it is reliant on foreign drinkers. In retaliation to Trump’s tariffs, the European Union—the second-biggest buyer for Brown-Forman—has proposed tariffs on a variety of American products including bourbon and Tennessee whiskey. More expensive American whiskey in Europe means less buyers, which means less sales for Brown-Forman, which could impact jobs at the company in America.
Trump says the tariffs will help steel manufacturers that are the “bedrock, backbone industries” of the country. Varga, in a call with investors, said there’s “irony” in the fact that the tariffs are going to hurt Jack Daniel’s, the best-selling American whiskey in the world that’s been around for 148 years. The jury is still out on who is going to protect the bedrock industry of American whiskey, the backbone of American-made liquor.