Local brewery fears Trump’s tariffs will doom the boom

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — President Donald Trump is aiming to revamp the country’s aluminum and steel industries.

While the president says the new tariffs are meant to protect American workers, it could have a negative impact on local businesses.

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“Our tanks, our kegs, our cans. All three of those areas are impacted,” Wrightsville Beach Brewery Owner, Jud Watkins said. “We’re doing our initial calculations,” Watkins said. “We only had a few days but the early calculations aren’t good.”

On Thursday Trump announced a 10% tariff on imported aluminum and 25% on imported steel.

“I think in the end, we’re going to have a lot of great jobs, we’re going to have a lot of great companies. All coming back into our country,” Trump said.



Watkins agrees with bringing more jobs to the nation but does not agree with the new tariff.

“Of course we have to be sensitive to the American jobs and we want those to stay here that’s why we initially bought American,” Watkins said. “We really just had a little bit of excitement and then a change in that as craft brewers. We heard the excise tax has been cut so we’re gonna get a small savings there. But now we’re hearing things for us are going to go up in price.”

Watkins said it is not ideal for a small business looking to expand.

“So we’re looking to add a couple of new tanks in the not so distant future,” Watkins said. “Is now the time to act? Can we afford to do it? Should we be looking to buy two instead of one because we’re scared the prices are getting ready to jump.”

So will this new tariff increase prices for consumers?

“At this time we have no plans to do that. But once we get the next batch of kegs in, the next order of cans in we’ll have to reassess just exactly how much we’re going to charge for a 6 pack or a case of cans,” Watkins said.

Only time will tell.

“We’ve got to be a lot more diligent at shopping around with for prices,” Watkins said. “Finding out can we still make a profit from our cans.”

The new tariffs will take effect in about two weeks.

Watkins buys all American steel and aluminum right now, but said he may have to look elsewhere if it gets too expensive.