JOHANNESBURG - Mexico’s plan to slap tariffs of 25 percent on Tennessee whiskey in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s levies on its steel and aluminum could spell bad news for the distiller of Jack Daniel’s in one of its biggest growth markets.
Louisville-based Brown-Forman Corp. said it’s hard to accurately forecast future sales growth with so much uncertainty surrounding the proposed tariffs.
“The competitive landscape in the developed world remains intense, not to mention concerns over potential retaliatory tariffs on American spirits,” the company said as it reported earnings Wednesday. If nothing major changes, it said it expects underlying net sales growth globally of between 6 percent and 7 percent in its next fiscal year.
Only about 5 percent of the company’s total sales are in Mexico currently, but that’s been growing rapidly, with the country logging a 15 percent bump in reported net sales last quarter. By comparison, demand in its much larger home market grew just 7 percent.
Of course, Tennessee whiskey isn’t Brown-Forman’s only popular product in Mexico, with its tequila brands like Herradura also driving growth south of the U.S. border.
A spokesman for the company declined to comment further ahead of its fourth-quarter earnings call planned for 10 a.m. New York time.