Trump Is Killing the Beer Industry

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty

The U.S. beer industry says Trump’s trade war has cost them 40,000 jobs, according to Bloomberg. It’s enough to make you want to drown your sorrows in some ice cold American pisswater!

A report by the Beer Institute and National Beer Wholesalers Association says that the beer industry has lost 40,000 jobs since 2016. The report blames the losses on metal tariffs put in place by the Trump administration, which raised the price of aluminum cans, leading to a dip in jobs from 2.19 million in 2018 from 2.23 million.

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“Aluminum tariffs are increasing brewers’ costs and are an anchor on a vibrant industry,” Jim McGreevy, the CEO of the Beer Institute in Washington, said in a statement. “Each brewer is deciding for themselves how to absorb that expense, whether it’s raising prices, laying off workers or delaying innovation and expansion.”

The amount it costs to bring aluminum into the U.S. for use in cans doubled as Trump put a 10 percent tariff on metal imports, the industry says. Molson Coors Brewing Co. said that the tariffs would take a $40 million bite out of their profits.

The drop in beer profits may not be only the administration’s fault. All booze sales, including wine, beer, and spirits, dropped by .08 percent in 2018 for the third year in a row. Many drinkers are apparently shifting towards consuming wine and liquor over beer, so the industry was harder hit by the decline in alcohol consumption overall.

A spokeswoman for the Beer Industry told Bloomberg that though the tariffs are not “100 percent” to blame for the industry’s losses, there is reason to believe that “brewers are making fewer investments because of the added cost of aluminum.” In the year before the tariffs were put in place, beer jobs had grown by 27 percent.

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Still, it’s not all bad news. Some areas of the industry are still growing, with brewing jobs up 8 percent. The report attributes that to the “tremendous growth in micro and brewpub employment as well as growth in higher margin products from all brewers.”

And things may be looking up soon: the Trump administration recently agreed to lift the aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico as part of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. We’ll all be doing keg stands again in no time.

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