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Tariffs push New York Distilling to change whiskey recipe

New York Distilling Company (NYDC) has tweaked one of its whiskey recipes to include liquid under three years old in order to “continue being competitive” in the UK, as EU-US tariffs remain in place.

American whiskey has also been caught in the cross fire as trade wars wage on

A statement released by the American distillery said it was “one of the many American brands” that had been affected and part of a 27% decrease in US spirits exports to the UK and EU in the last year.

The EU imposed a 25% tariff on American whiskey in response to US president Donald Trump’s decision to introduce tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

As a result, NYDC’s co-founder, Allen Katz, made the decision to make a “teeny tiny modification to his recipe” for Ragtime Rye whiskey for the UK market in order to “have a chance to be able to viably compete and survive as a business”.

A statement from the company said: “It is well known that to be officially labelled as a whiskey in the UK, the bottle must contain whiskey that is aged at least three years. With great pride, New York Distilling Company has never released a whiskey less than three years old and Ragtime Rye is currently a blend of three, four, five, and six-year-old rye.

“While the tariffs are in place in the UK, NYDC is placing a nominal amount of Ragtime Rye whiskey aged under 3 years into the standard Ragtime Rye whiskey.

“New York Distilling Company can sell its product under the new label ‘Ragtime Rye’ sans the word ‘whiskey’ and continue being competitive with other whiskeys in the UK market.”

Katz and his team said they were “confident” that the new recipe was “indistinguishable from the quality and taste of the standard version”.

“The difficulties placed by these tariffs have forced individuals and small craft producers to adapt their operations, to compete with established brands and ultimately, for survival for their business,” the statement continued.

Last week, Maker’s Mark owner Beam Suntory reported a mid-single-digit revenue increase for 2019, but was impacted by EU-US tariffs on American whiskey.

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