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‘Makes you nervous:’ Aluminum, steel tariff could mean paying more for your favorite beer

Third Space Brewing

MILWAUKEE -- The nearly-perfected process of filling, sealing and pumping out cans of craft beer is like a well-oiled machine inside Third Space Brewing in Milwaukee -- and aluminum and steel are a big part of the beer industry.

"We're running at about 30 cans a minute. Canning day is always exciting. A lot going on. A lot of fun," said Kevin Wright, co-founder and brewmaster.

Wright said the job requires his full attention.

Kevin Wright

"You gotta be focused. You're watching a couple different things on the machine," said Wright.

Wright said Tuesday, March 6 he's also watching Washington after a 10 percent tax on aluminum was proposed by President Donald Trump.

"It definitely makes you nervous," said Wright.

Wright's company uses aluminum for the thousands upon thousands of beer cans they put on the market each year. A major change could impact their bottom line.

Third Space Brewing

"It's scary any time they're messing with the cost of goods, costs of raw materials," said Wright.

Good City Brewing

The cost of steel is also getting attention from the industry. There's a proposed 25 percent tax on steel imports. Tanks and fermenters made of steel make up the bones of many breweries.

"These big tanks are made out of steel and that's another big thing of what they're discussing," said Kyle Stephens with Good City Brewing.

Stephens believes the hike could affect growth for smaller companies nationwide.

"That's another kind of unknown," said Stephens.

Kyle Stephens

Wright said if the tariff increase goes through, that could mean a higher price for your favorite brew.

"Make it more expensive to for us to make beer and therefore make beer more expensive," said Wright.

Both Wright and Stephens said it's too early to talk about what beer prices could rise to if the aluminum and steel tariff is approved, but they said the product will remain the same.