Local breweries feeling impact of Trump tariffs on aluminum

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Local breweries are paying the price for aluminum tariffs, and they may affect the cost of your next six-pack. 

Owners at Against the Grain Brewery say they are preparing for the cost of their beer cans to increase.

"Cans are a much more economic option ... and they do, in my opinion, take care of the beer a little bit better," Against the Grain part-owner Adam Watson said. 

Thousands of gallons of beer flow through the brewery's Portland production facility each year, which is how they sell most of their beer. But cans are getting more expensive and harder to find. 

President Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum are meant to protect American producers who can't compete with low prices on imports.

"I think it's going to work for the industries like steel and aluminum," World Trade Center Kentucky Chief Trade Officer Darren Srebnick said.

The tariffs are working for Hawesville Kentucky's Century Aluminum, which announced 300 new jobs and a $150 million investment in the facility. 

But Watson anticipates the opposite effect for his brewery. He's seen as much as a 20 percent increase in in price per can, and it's only a matter of time before that cost is passed on to the cost of purchasing canned beer. 

"On a per can basis, if I'm buying a $30,000 dollar truckload of cans, 20 percent increase is significant," Watson said. 

Srebnick said tariffs like this generally don't work, and predicts the tariffs will hurt more industries than they will help. A higher cost of raw material would stunt growth. 

"I'm concerned about the potential loss of employment," Srebnick said. "Especially when you have a tariff on an import of a good that is generally used for a finished product that may actually be exported. We are, in essence, shooting ourselves in the foot and not actually helping the trade deficit."

Experts say some companies may have stocked up on cans in anticipation of the tariffs, so it might take some time for consumers to feel the hit. 

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