Oregon Whiskey Goes to Europe

If you’ve ever wondered if Oregon spirits could be popular in Europe, the answer is just days away. On Jan. 1, 2022, the United Kingdom and the European Union will lift their 25% tariff on American spirits. 

Put into place in 2018 – in retaliation for increased tariffs on European Aluminum and Steel put in place by the Trump White House – the tariff on American whiskey pulled the rug out from one Oregon seller just as they were moving into the European marketplace.  

Westward Whiskey had just begun selling into Europe when the tariff “war” began, destroying their plans and costing them any profit they might have seen as they absorbed the added tax in order to maintain affordability. Oregon distillery Rogue Ales & Spirits hit the same wall. In total, the export of American whiskey dropped 37% due to this tariff.  

Oregon has around 77 small distilleries – including Marcotte Distilling in Philomath, Spiritopia in Corvallis, and 4 Spirits Distillery in Corvallis – and few of them sell into Europe to date.  

The Biden Administration has brokered a deal with the EU, allowing aluminum and steel to come into the US tariff-free. The EU and the UK are dropping the retaliatory tariffs on liquor. All to take effect when the New Year comes.  

By Sally K Lehman