Trump Slaps Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum – Beer Industry Will Suffer, Says MillerCoors

steel and aluminum

U.S. beer giant MillerCoors has taken to Twitter to express disappointment over president Donald Trump’s ‘misguided’ plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum, which they say will lead to job losses.

The brewer, which is the second largest in the U.S., said in a Tweet last Thursday: “We are disappointed with President Trump’s announcement of a 10% tariff on aluminum.” Adding that the price of aluminum will rise in response, MillerCoors fears “It is likely to lead to job losses across the beer industry.”

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Last Thursday, President Trump announced that the U.S. would set a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports in order to eliminate international competition and boost U.S. manufacturing.

MillerCoors’ criticisms are not isolated; analysts and industry leaders have been commenting on Trump’s hard-line trade rhetoric since last year. In June, observers noted that such tactics could result in global trade wars. Indeed, the Bush administration reversed 30% steel tariffs back in 2003 after the European Union threatened retaliatory tariffs in response. To further complicate matters, the White House is under pressure to exclude certain U.S. allies such as Canada (which is also a major steel supplier) from the tariffs. Meanwhile, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said in an interview with CNBC that steel and aluminum jobs in the U.S. have been declining since the 1950s and ‘to suggest that we’re going to bring back these industries is a little naive.’ 

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Going back to beer though, the tariffs will not only affect large breweries such as MillerCoors but craft breweries as well, which are currently something of a craze and constitute over 98% of breweries in the country. Speaking to The Takeout, Chad Melis, director of Colorado-based microbrewery Oskar Blues, said that the tariffs could cost his brewery $400,000 a year. 

It is unclear what effect the tariffs will have on the thousands of other products which are stored in aluminum cans, but it could be similar. Indeed, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Dr. Pepper and other beverage producers voiced opposition to the tariffs in a letter to the president in which they claim the tariffs would have a ‘major negative impact’ on food and beverage companies. For sure, it is an uncertain time for investors in both the steel and beverage industries. 

Featured image: Dogfish Brewery