Jared Adkins, founder of Phoenixville, Pa.-based Bluebird Distilling, is passionate about whiskey in part because of the “romantic period” it undergoes as it ages.
He had been in talks to expand and sell his 3-year-old company’s spirits overseas, but Adkins had to “put the breaks” on plans as the United States continues its trade war with other countries.
It’s the same issue for other Philadelphia-area distillers as they grit their teeth in anticipation of the newly imposed tariffs’ effects, writes Kenneth Hilario in the Philadelphia Business Journal.
Manatawny Still Works of Pottstown in Montgomery County does not export to Europe, but “the plan is to grow that distribution when we have sufficient aged inventory to export,” cofounder Derek Menaldino said.
“Our current concern is that U.S. whiskey exporters facing tariffs will need to sell more of their inventories domestically, and that will drive down prices for all distilleries here,” Menaldino said.
Domestic U.S. whiskey production expanded to serve the growing international market, he said. “Hopefully the international market continues to grow and tariffs don’t become headwinds,” Menaldino said.
Chester County’s Bluebird Distilling, when it first opened in June 2015, became the first craft spirit distillery in Chester County, and it’s since grown to distribution in Illinois and New Jersey with plans to go into Maryland and Virginia this year, co-founder Adkins said.
Whiskey makes up about 60 percent of its business, and it’s where Adkins’ passion lies.
Adkins said he entertained the idea of going global, discussing the possibility of starting sales overseas as the U.S. market becomes saturated, similar to what’s been seen with craft breweries.
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