Triangle craft breweries fear tariff on aluminum

DURHAM, NC (WTVD) -- President Donald Trump is vowing to rebuild our nation's steel and aluminum industries.

He plans to put tariffs in place - 10 percent on imported aluminum and 25 percent on imported steel.

"We need to let commodities be commodities especially for craft brewers," said Sean Wilson, CEO and founder of Fullsteam Brewery, which opened in 2010 in Durham's Warehouse District.

Fullsteam said it puts out 400 cases of beer three to four times a week and would consider cutting that back if there's a tariff. It's now one of 40 craft breweries in the Triangle that is in potentially dangerous territory.

"At Fullsteam, we're really passionate about working with North Carolina ingredients and those local ingredients are at a higher cost so we're not able to pass along a price increase to customers. It's just not something we're going to be able to do in a competitive marketplace," said Wilson, who even questioned the President's actions on Twitter Thursday. "I just worry about the increased cost and whether or not the administration has thought through a tax on manufacturers."

According to the North Carolina Craft Brewer's Guild, the industry has more than a $1 billion of economic impact statewide every year.

"The most important thing I'm hearing right now is the uncertainty of it," said Andrew Lemley, director of the guild.

The trade association, which said it is still looking at specifics with the tariff, said any increase in the cost of aluminum and therefore cans could have impacts to 250 breweries in North Carolina.
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