Editor’s Note: U.S. Representative Andy Barr (R-KY) and U.S. Representative Morgan McGarvey on CNBC with Ylan Mui discussing the Bourbon Caucus.
Washington, D.C.— Today, U.S. Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY) and Morgan McGarvey (D-KY) renewed the Congressional Bourbon Caucus as an official Congressional Member Organization for the 118th Congress.
The caucus was founded in 2009 and is made up of a bipartisan group of members that are dedicated to strengthening the bourbon industry in the United States and educating other members on legislative and regulatory issues impacting 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 (EU) 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. Rep. Barr led a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai with over four dozen members of Congress 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.
“It’s an honor to join my colleague, Congressman Barr, as Co-Chair of the Congressional Bourbon Caucus,” said Rep. McGarvey. “Bourbon is a vital industry in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, providing countless jobs and stimulating our economy. 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.”
“The Bourbon Caucus has been instrumental in the growth of distilleries across the country,” said Distilled Spirits Council President and CEO Chris Swonger. “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. Cheers to the Bourbon Caucus for the important work they do to supports jobs, tourism an economic development in the distilling, agriculture and hospitality sectors.”
Kentucky is the birthplace of Bourbon, America’s only native spirit. Bourbon is an estimated $8.6 billion industry in Kentucky, supporting more than 20,000 jobs statewide and producing 95% of the world’s supply, according to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.