New tariffs could hurt Arizona breweries

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Mat Trethewey, owner of the Beer Research Institute. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Mat Trethewey, owner of the Beer Research Institute. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

There is always a cause and effect factor in almost everything we do. President Trump is proposing steep tariffs on imports like steel and aluminum, and this could have a trickle down effect that could hurt some small businesses.

In Arizona, especially in the Valley, there are countless small independent breweries that have popped up over the last several years. To make a brewery get off the ground you need a lot of capital and you have to invest in a lot of expensive equipment like brewing tanks, kegs and the aluminum cans the beer goes in.

The tariff change would be steep for steel, up to 25 percent. Aluminum imports would go up 10 percent.

At the Beer Research Institute in Mesa, a local brewery that's been around since 2013, the increased costs could hurt their bottom line.

"In general, tariffs don't really make economic sense. They don't help anybody and just stifle growth and ingenuity, so its bad news for us," said Mat Trethewey, owner of the Beer Research Institute.

It's the same story at 12 West Brewing in Gilbert. The company has only been up and running for over a year. Noel Garcia is the co-owner and worries about future costs if the tariffs are put in place. Like many breweries, the steel used is manufactured locally, but originally from China because it's cheaper.

"Breweries that are expanding like us. We still have to purchase new equipment and aluminum. Right now that might not affect the price sitting at the bar, but who knows a couple of batches down the line the price could definitely go up and that does have to get translated into the price of beer," he said.

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