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Trump Tariffs Inspire Some to Stockpile Wine and Cheese

Plus, Krystal has filed for bankruptcy, and more news to start your day

A spread of cheese, honey, and a wine bottle.
While a trade war with France may have been postponed, fears still abound over the future cost of wine and other European goods.
Photo: 279photo Studio/Shutterstock

Amid fears over tariffs, some are stockpiling imported cheeses and wines

As the Trump administration has futzed with escalating trade spats, some purveyors of fine culinary goods have apparently taken to hoarding, the New York Post reports. Restaurants, wine and cheese shops, and specialty food stores have been stockpiling imported wares and reconsidering what kinds of products they carry, in response to a 25 percent tax increase on certain goods from the European Union last October, and out of fear that President Donald Trump’s threats to slap tariffs of up to 100 percent on $2.4 billion worth of French products would come to fruition.

“We started working with our distributors to stock up on cheeses with long shelf lives, like Parmesan and Manchego,” one executive of a Manhattan cheese shop told the Post. Meanwhile, other purveyors have considered swapping out imported cheese, wine, and olive oil for domestic goods.

The threatened tariffs on French Champagne, handbags, and other luxury wares — separate from the tariffs on EU goods imposed last fall in retaliation over aircraft subsidies — are now being tabled until the end of the year, with French President Emmanuel Macron tweeting that he and Trump “will work together on a good agreement to avoid tariff escalation.”

But while we may have avoided those punitive French tariffs for now, there’s still the Trump administration’s threat to increase the 25 percent tariffs on EU goods to 100 percent, a move that many have speculated would destroy the wine industry. Furthermore, just the potential for a trade war could have a much longer-lasting impact on which goods are consumed in the U.S.

“Consumer preferences will slowly shift as we are forced to drink more Napa cab[ernet]s. Eventually you will lose the runway,” Chris Czerwinski, director of international policy for investment research firm ACG Analytics, told the Post. “If tariffs are extended for a long period of time, we will lose relationships with European producers and the supply chain could be forever changed. It will take a long time for relationships to be repaired.”

And in other news…

  • Krystal, a fast-food chain known in the Southeast for its burgers, has filed for bankruptcy. [NRN]
  • Ben & Jerry’s told a judge that it has removed the “happy cows” claim on its packaging, as well as the expressions of the cows, amid a lawsuit that accused the ice cream brand of deceptive labeling and marketing. [Delish]
  • El Chapo’s daughter is releasing a craft beer named after the imprisoned drug cartel kingpin, because we’re in the weirdest fucking timeline. [NY Daily News]
  • Uber is selling its Indian arm of Uber Eats to local competitor Zomato. [NYT]
  • Spain’s Balearic Islands are trying to change its reputation for touristy, booze-soaked partying with a new series of laws that attempt to curb alcohol excess. Pour one out for the crushed partiers of Ibiza. [CNN]
  • Veganuary update: A total of 750,000 people from 192 countries have reportedly joined the pledge to go without animal products the first month of the year, with about half signing up for January 2020. [NYT]

All AM Intel Coverage [E]