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Small Breweries Cringe At Possible Metals Tariff

By Stan Bush

DENVER (CBS4) -- President Donald Trump's plan to add a tariff to foreign aluminum and steel could have a blistering effect on craft brewers.

The tax would drive up costs on the industry's essential items -- from the steel drums used to brew the beer to the cans used for retail sales.

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"It would be a hinderance. You'd have to consider all of that," says George Hanna, owner of Oasis Brewing in Denver.

The country's largest brewers have said the tariff would raise expenses that would be passed on to consumers. Hanna says a price hike would be crushing for small startup brewers. An average craft six-pack already costs around $9-$10.

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(credit: CBS4)

"That $2 extra could drive them to a mainstream brewery or a bigger competitor," said Hanna.

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Oasis Brewing opened in Boulder in the early 90s, but the brand shuttered a decade ago. Hanna says his brewery, reopening the Denver's Highland neighborhood March 29, would also like to go into retail sales. However, if tariffs on aluminum and steel become a reality it could be years until he has enough capital to grow retail sales.

Stan Bush is a general assignment reporter at CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 10. Read his bio and follow him on Twitter @StanBushTV.

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