Kentucky Distillers Welcome Delay On Doubling of E.U. Whiskey Tariffs

JC Phelps

The historic Kentucky Distillers’ Association today applauded the joint U.S. and E.U. decision to delay the doubling of tariffs on Bourbon and American whiskey that were set to automatically increase June 1.

“This is welcome news as distillers in Kentucky and across America were perilously close to a crippling blow on European exports,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “This gives both sides some breathing room to return to free and fair trade and once again level the playing field for Kentucky’s signature spirit.

“We deeply appreciate the leadership the Biden Administration, Congressmen John Yarmuth and Andy Barr, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and all global leaders who are working to resolve this ongoing trade dispute that has slashed exports and jeopardized the certainty of our largest overseas markets.”

Tariffs imposed on U.S. spirits slashed Kentucky Bourbon exports by 35% in 2020, with shipments to the European Union plummeting by nearly 50%. Sales to the U.K., formerly Kentucky’s largest market in the EU, also have been decimated by 50%.

Distilleries in 36 states exported whiskey in 2020, with Kentucky ranking second behind Tennessee. Total American Whiskey exports reported a similar downturn, declining 29% from 2018 to 2020. U.S. whiskey exports to the EU fell sharply 37% in that time and sank 53% to the U.K.

“We are obviously thrilled that discussions have started and both sides are committed to resolving this issue by the end of the year,” Gregory said. “We look forward to getting back to zero tariffs and what we do best – crafting the finest Bourbon for all the world to enjoy.”

About the KDA

Founded in 1880, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association is the legendary voice for Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. Its diverse and growing membership produces the overwhelming majority of the world’s Bourbon, from historic, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are fostering the next generation of the Commonwealth’s landmark economic engine and its thriving, timeless craft. Member benefits include media relations, international trade development, private sampling events, technical assistance, economic development support, networking, legal defense, marketing strategies, governmental and regulatory advocacy and innovative tourism experiences through the KDA’s world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® adventures. A 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, the KDA maintains an open membership policy, champions a strong commitment to the responsible and moderate consumption of spirits, and fights to curb underage drinking and drunk driving. Learn more at and

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JC Phelps is a Kentucky-based food + southern lifestyle writer.

Louisville, KY

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