Trade tariffs create whiskey wars in US market

Imports and Exports | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Sales of whiskey are suffering in the US - but Ireland is picking up the slack.

A bitter and lengthy trade battle between the US and the EU is having a knock-on effect on the sales of different types of whiskies, new figures have revealed.

Alcoholic beverage research firm ISWR said sales of Irish whiskey in the US grew ten per cent year-on-year to 4.95 million cases in 2019, after the Republic of Ireland escaped a 25 per cent levy that applied to sales of Scottish products.

Predictions from the Irish Whiskey Association suggest that if this trend continues, US sales of Irish whiskey could overtake those for Scotch within the next six years.

Meanwhile, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) has said US whiskey exports to Europe fell by 27 per cent last year after the EU applied 25 per cent retaliatory tariffs of its own on products such as bourbon.

President Chris Swonger said some of the great American products are "struggling under the weight of the EU tariffs".

American whiskey makes up 65 per cent of total US spirit exports and DISCUS said some distillers are now looking to other markets where there are no levies, such as Japan and Taiwan.