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The Brexit vote could bring uncertainty to America's scotch imports

·Nicole Goodkind
Whisky barrels are seen in the warehouse of the Diageo Cardhu distillery in Scotland March 21, 2014. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

The world is an uncertain and chaotic place today, and as our bank accounts and 401ks feel the burn of the Brexit, some of us may turn to another British export to soothe our nerves: Scotch whisky. Drink up—the Brexit may also be coming to your liquor cabinet.
 
In 1994, the U.S. inked a treaty with the European Union on a zero-for-zero tariff on distilled spirits. As a result, most liquor exports and imports between the UK and US have been tax-free for 22 years. Now that the UK is leaving the EU the deal might be up in the air.
 
According to the Distilled Spirits Council, a major U.S. liquor lobby, UK spirits imports into the US were valued at $1.55 billion in 2015. A whopping 74% of those imports were Scotch. The UK is the top market for US spirits, with $231 million in exports in 2015 (American whiskey makes up 88.5% of that).
 
“There are serious issues to resolve in areas of major importance to our industry and which require urgent attention, notably the nature of future trade arrangements with both the single market and the wider world,” wrote David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, in a press release this morning.
 
“Leaving the EU would be a leap in the dark for our great British food and drink industry and could lead to years of negotiations on new trade deals – with no guarantees at the end,” said UK environment and food secretary Liz Truss during a visit to the Glenkinchie Distillery in Scotland on Monday. The Scotch industry supports nearly 40,000 jobs throughout the UK.
 
But don’t start hoarding Laphroaig just yet. You have two years to savor your scotch before the Brexit comes to your liquor store. Cheers to that.

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Nicole Goodkind is a reporter and producer at Yahoo Finance. Send comments/complaints/etc. to @NicoleGoodkind

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