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Steel tariff hitting Tampa Bay area brewers in the keg

Posted at 11:26 PM, Jun 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-02 10:58:15-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay Area breweries could take a hit after United States tariffs on China imported steel are imposed.

Local craft brewers, like St. Pete Brewery say it will eat at all the craft beer owner's bottom line.

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“It’s just so expensive,” Tom Williams, with St. Pete Brewery and KegConnect, said. He expects the tariff to be at least 13-20%.

Right now, a keg can cost anywhere between $70-90. With the increase, kegs could be $120 or more each. That adds up quick when breweries buy thousands of kegs to keep up with demand.

“If you are growing brewery and you’re buying a thousand kegs then you are going to be paying an extra $12-15,000,” Williams said.

Williams leases kegs to brewers all across Florida. His warehouse is stashed with thousands of drums to be filled with beer.

According to Williams, those kegs are already sold due the fear of prices skyrocketing in the coming weeks.

Rick Clemo, with the House of Beer also worries about the cost of stainless steel going up.

“We have to buy kegs all the time they are made out of stainless steel,” Clemo said House of Beer has more than 5,000 kegs in stock, a $50,000 investment.

Williams says the tariffs could very likely put small or growing breweries out of business. And eventually that price could trickle down to the consumer.

“It could affect the price of your beer,” Williams said.