Last month, the Trump administration announced damaging tariffs on all Single Malt Scotch Whisky, leaving members of our industry wondering how this will impact their supply chain and their customers along the three-tier system. There is no doubt that Americans will purchase less Scotch due to the hefty 25% tariff, but Kilchoman and ImpEx knew that we could not just leave it at that.
“The tariffs are a big blow as in the last few years we have seen steady growth in sales. It is hoped they aren’t in place for too long so the impact doesn’t do long term damage.” Kilchoman Distillery’s Founder and Managing Director Anthony Wills wrote.
Recently quoted in Whisky Advocate magazine (and parent company publication, Shanken News), Sam Filmus, President and Co-Founder of ImpEx Beverages, explained that he “airfreighted 19 additional pallets of Single Malt to last through the holiday selling season.” As a boutique importer, he is “extremely concerned about how the tariffs will impact us, our suppliers, our prices, and, at the end of the day, the consumer that enjoys our whisky” Moving forward, Filmus and Wills agreed to swallow the cost of the tariffs, at least through next March, splitting it fifty-fifty to spare consumers from higher prices. “I think in the long run, it is going to be beneficial for the brand,” Filmus says. “[It will allow] more people to get a hold of the bottles they’re shopping for.”
Needless to say, a 25% increase is substantial for both companies’ profit margins, but Anthony and Sam– who will celebrate the 10 year Anniversary of Kilchoman’s launch in the US in 2020 along with 10 years of partnership– are focused on continuing the long term success of Kilchoman in the United States. There was no hesitation that stepping up for their customers at this time is the right call. These tariffs are the most recent reminder that the whisky industry is not immune to global political and economic forces, and the most recent opportunity for two leaders in our industry to come together and demonstrate their commitment to putting consumers first.
Please feel free to reach out to us with questions on these tariffs or anything else Scotch-related. We will continue to keep you, our Kilchoman community, abreast of any changes to the state of these tariffs. If and when they are finally lifted, well… we know how to celebrate.
~Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Distillery and Sam Filmus, ImpEx Beverages, Inc.
Notes to Editors
Kilchoman Distillery is a small family run farm distillery based on the rugged west coast of Islay. The distillery was established by Anthony Wills in 2005, the idea was to build a new distillery which took whisky production back to its roots. Anthony and wife Kathy have been joined by their three sons; George, James and Peter.
Kilchoman produces its 100% Islay Single Malt from barley which is grown in fields surrounding the distillery and completes every stage of the whisky-making process at the distillery, including traditional floor malting. Kilchoman is the only distillery in Scotland to do this.
Since the first US bottling was released in 2010, Kilchoman has quickly established itself as a high-quality Islay Single Malt Whisky multiple notable awards.
ImpEx Beverages, Inc. – In 2008, a new chapter began for Sam Filmus, after years in the business captaining JVS Imports. With ImpEx Beverages, his vision was to import premium and rare Spirits from around the world, with special emphasis on the best of what Scotland has to offer.
Now, ImpEx boasts an impressive portfolio, including some of the most notorious small to medium sized distilleries and independent bottlers.