Virginia distillery worries Trump's trade war with other countries will hurt business

Image 1 of 5

President Donald Trump said he is determined to close the trade imbalance between the United States and other countries, including many of our allies.

Trump has threatened to slap a 20-percent tariff on cars imported from the European Union. In response, other countries have threatened to retaliate and raise tariffs on American products such as whiskey.

Now, a small business owner in Virginia is worried a new tariff may hurt his bottom line.

At Catoctin Creek Distilling Company in Purcellville, most of the whiskey it makes is sold in America. However, about 20 percent of their product is shipped to European countries.

Scott Harris is the founder this small family-owned distillery that employees about 20 people. Their whiskey is gaining popularity in Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and most recently in Holland.

Starting on Friday, the European Union has slapped a 25-percent tariff on whiskey and other products. Harris said he has already produced more product for his European customers and worries what he will do with it if those customers go away due to higher prices.

For example, the 25-percent tariff on a $90 bottle of whiskey at Catoctin Creek Distilling Company would cost an extra $22 overseas.

"I have been asked, 'Does that mean we're laying people off?'" Harris said. "No, we're not laying people off, but we may not be hiring anybody for a while now either."

Harris said he is a Republican, but worries what this trade war may do in the long run. For now, he is hoping his customers overseas will pay a little more for his whiskey.