By Noell Evans, The Center Square

The craft beer industry is starting to feel the effects of the months-long trade dispute between the U.S. and China, industry insiders say. And they worry the impact will only get worse as the dispute continues.

In March 2018, the Trump administration placed a 10 percent tariff on aluminum and a 25 percent tariff on steel. Since then, the costs of everything from cans to other equipment used by craft breweries have risen.

Before the tariffs, a single can cost between 15 and 18 cents. That same can is now 19 to 24 cents, brewers reported. When multiplied across the thousands of cans a brewery uses, the total can be significant.

The tariffs also are leading to jobs losses, industry insiders say. A study published earlier this year by the Beer Institute and National Beer Wholesalers Association placed the loss of 40,000 beer industry jobs on the tariffs. The study reported that the tariffs caused a “lack of investment” in what was a growing industry.

A release provided by The Brewer’s Association, a non-profit trade association of “…more than 5,240 U.S. brewery members and 46,000 members of the American Homebrewers Association,” said “The Brewers Association continues to work alongside members of Congress and our industry partners regarding tariffs. Aluminum cans represent nearly half of packaged production for small brewers, and as such, our efforts on Capitol Hill include not only educating members on the potential impact these tariffs will have on our industry but advocating for the exclusion of aluminum sheet or “cansheet” imported in the U.S.”

Brewers fear the ongoing trade war will stifle what has been a booming industry: In 2000, there were about 1,500 craft breweries in the U.S. In 2018, there were, 7,450. 


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