Campari CEO Touts Free Trade as Trump Clouds Tequila Outlook

By: | at 06:00 PM | International Trade  

Davide Campari-Milano SpA Chief Executive Officer Bob Kunze-Concewitz has joined rival distillers in expressing support for free trade amid concerns protectionist policies in the U.S. could affect sales of tequila.

American drinkers could face higher prices for the liquor if President Donald Trump’s proposed levy on Mexican imports is enacted. Tequila is one of the fastest-growing spirit categories in the U.S., a trend that’s benefiting Campari’s Espolon brand, sales of which grew 75 percent last quarter.

“I think, overall, clearly we’re for free trade—everybody benefits,” Kunze-Concewitz said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “We have to see what happens. There’s a lot of talk but not much happening.”

French distiller Pernod Ricard SA has said Trump’s proposed 20 percent levy on Mexican imports could lead to inflation and dent consumption of tequila and mezcal, another spirit distilled from the agave plant.

The levy proposals haven’t slowed investment from international players as demand soars, especially for high-end tequilas drunk “neat” rather than mixed in margaritas. Last month, Diageo Plc, the maker of Johnnie Walker Scotch and Smirnoff vodka, acquired Casamigos tequila from the actor George Clooney and business partners for as much as $1 billion, weeks after Pernod Ricard took control of artist Ron Cooper’s Del Maguey mezcal.


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