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KDA Statement on Delay of Bourbon Tariff Increase

December 19, 2023

FRANKFORT, Ky. – As the worldwide voice for Bourbon, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and our 102 distilling and partner member companies welcome the news that the European Union will delay reimposing tariffs on American whiskey and other goods from the United States for another 15 months. 

The retaliatory tariffs were set to double to 50% on January 1, 2024, which would have caused a devastating blow to our signature industry and the 22,500 hard-working Kentuckians it employs, as well as the countless wholesalers, retailers, and supply chain partners in E.U. countries that count on its future well-being. 

As a reminder, the trade dispute that provoked these retaliatory tariffs has nothing to do with the Kentucky Bourbon or American whiskey industry. U.S. and E.U. spirits exporters had enjoyed duty-free access to each other’s markets for more than two decades, which had greatly benefited both spirits producers and consumers, and resulted in increased exports, jobs and consumer choice.

To that end, we strongly urge E.U. and U.S. officials to permanently end the tariffs sooner than later. Our signature industry has worked hard to recover and regain footing from the last short-term suspension of tariffs. As Bourbon takes years of aging to perfect, a permanent solution will bring certainty to our distillers as they look to continued growth and investments in international markets. 

We appreciate and applaud the efforts of the Biden administration and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear to secure the extended suspension of the tariffs. We look forward to the day when we can return to free and fair trade and our main business of making the world’s finest whiskey.

  • KDA President Eric Gregory

E.U. statement here:

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