New Whiskey Tariffs Force Phoenixville’s Bluebird Distilling to Postpone International Expansion

Jared Adkins, the founder of Bluebird Distilling.

The rapidly escalating trade disagreement between the U.S. and other countries is already affecting local businesses, including Bluebird Distilling, writes Kenneth Hilario for the Philadelphia Business Journal.

The Phoenixville distillery has put its international expansion plans on hold due to the new 25 percent whiskey tariff imposed by China and the E.U. on whiskey and bourbon produced in the U.S.

Bluebird Distilling, which was the first craft spirit distillery in Chester County when it opened in June 2015, has now grown to include distribution in Illinois and New Jersey. It also plans to enter Maryland and Virginia later this year.

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And with the local market becoming oversaturated, founder Jared Adkins was considering overseas sales, but that plan has now been put on hold.

“It’s worrisome, and we put the brakes on it to see how this plays out,” said Adkins.

In addition to affecting international exports, the tariffs may also harm domestic small businesses.

“Our current concern is that U.S. whiskey exporters facing tariffs will need to sell more of their inventories domestically, driving down prices for distilleries here,” said Manatawny Still Works co-founder Derek Menaldino.

Read more about the effects of the new tariffs in the Philadelphia Business Journal here.

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