The Congressional Bourbon Caucus was recently renewed as an official Congressional Member Organization for the 118th Congress of the United States.
U.S. Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY) and Morgan McGarvey (D-KY) will lead the charge.
A statement from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States explained that the Caucus was founded in 2009 and is made up of a bipartisan group of members dedicated to strengthening the bourbon industry in the United States.
Secondarily, the Caucus sets out to educate other members on legislative and regulatory issues that affect the industry.
Barr and McGarvey will serve as co-chairs of the Caucus.
“I am proud to welcome my friend, Rep. Morgan McGarvey, to the Congressional Bourbon Caucus and look forward to working together to protect this signature Kentucky industry,” said Rep. Barr. “In the last Congress, I was proud to lead the Aged Distilled Spirits Act which was included in the Craft Beverage Modernization Act. Now, the Bourbon Caucus will work to maintain zero-to-zero tariffs with the European Union to boost the industry in the years ahead.”
The EU and United Kingdom imposed 25% tariffs on American whiskey in 2018, with the EU’s tariffs set to increase to 50% in June of 2021. In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, nearly 50 members of Congress signed it encouraging the administration to negotiate a suspension and elimination of the tariffs.
While the tariffs were suspended, the EU is set to reimpose a tariff of 50% in 2024 if there is no agreement in the dispute.
“Bourbon is a vital industry in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, providing countless jobs and stimulating our economy,” said Rep. McGarvey. “I’m proud to be a leader for this bipartisan caucus and work across the aisle to protect and promote distilled spirits at a national and international level.”
Chris Swonger, Distilled Spirits Council president and CEO, said the Bourbon Caucus has been instrumental in the growth of distilleries across the country.
“Since the formation of the Caucus, the number of distilleries has grown from approximately 100 to more than 2,600 nationwide. From supporting historic legislation to reduce the tax burden on small distillers to urging the removal of debilitating tariffs on American whiskey exports, Bourbon Caucus members have helped distillers grow and reinvest in their businesses and communities.”