Despite his predilection for living in Versailles-like accommodations, and even though he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Donald Trump styles himself as a populist, a man of the people. But another of his executive memos is likely to hit the average American where it hurts, and we're not talking about healthcare or immigration.
We're talking about beer.
Trump signed an executive memo in April that asks the Commerce Department to investigate how to deal with the current overabundance of low-priced aluminum imports; the memo said the problem may be so bad that it jeopardizes national security. But according to an industry expert who spoke about the aluminum issue this week, if the Commerce Department ends up deciding that cheap aluminum imports should be taxed, you'll be feeling the pain soon.
The net effect: higher-priced beer. According to Tim Weiner of Molson Coors Brewing Co. and its Miller Coors LLC subsidiary, who spoke at an industry conference in Chicago on Wednesday, "If there are duties on aluminum coming to this country, it will obviously get passed on to us and the customer."
Sure, American aluminum manufacturers may be psyched at the prospect of the US cracking down on low-priced imports—especially those coming from China, which is seen as the root of the problem. But if a duty is in fact imposed on imported aluminum, the thousands of American brewers out there will be paying more for their packaging—and aluminum makes up about 60 percent of a brewer's packaging. As Weiner puts it, "We're giving our customers what they want, and what they want is cans." The imposition of a tax would mean you'd be paying more for cans of beer.
So, here's a suggestion: During the upcoming months during which the Commerce Department conducts its investigation, you might want to fill a bunker or two with as many brewskis as time and effort will permit. Because if Trump has his way, we all may be paying more for America's favorite beverage in the very near future.