Despite Long-Term Qualms, Steel Beer Keg Company Celebrates Trump's Focus On Tariffs
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
We wanted to get another perspective now on the new tariffs the president is promising on steel and aluminum. Yesterday on this program, we spoke with Republican Congressman Ryan Costello from Pennsylvania. He wasn't sure if the tariffs would be a good thing or a bad thing. Like us, he was researching the issue. And to do that, he was canvassing people in his district for their views.
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RYAN COSTELLO: The only domestic keg company in the country is in my district. And I spoke with him yesterday, and they are extremely happy with the decision.
MARTIN: So we decided to follow the congressman's lead, so we called Paul Czachor, the CEO of that company, the American Keg Company. We called him at his office in Pottstown, Pa. Mr. Czachor, thanks so much for speaking with us.
PAUL CZACHOR: Thanks for having me on.
MARTIN: So kegs - right? - something known to most college students at some point. Would you tell me exactly what your company does?
CZACHOR: We manufacture stainless steel beer kegs. And there's approximately 6,000 to 7,000 breweries, wineries, cideries in the United States that purchase stainless steel beer kegs to obviously put their product in, and then deliver it to their customers.
MARTIN: Well I understand, though, that you've been working with various government agencies and officials because you feel that you are being - what? - undercut by the kegs that are being made from overseas? Could you talk to me about that?
CZACHOR: Sure. Very similar probably to many other industries, the last U.S. producer was sold to a European company around 2006, and then they were shut down shortly thereafter. But we're seeing kegs come in from particularly China and some other areas that are taking advantage of low-cost steel, and they're bringing those kegs into the U.S. at a very, very low price.
MARTIN: But as I understand it - and we don't have all the details yet, but the tariff the president proposes would apply to the raw material coming in, not the finished product. In theory, couldn't this make steel more expensive? And wouldn't this drive up your costs?
CZACHOR: Yes, that's correct. And we are very worried about that. And we're hoping that the administration will start to look at downstream products, particularly products that are using low-cost steel from particular countries and then brought in to the U.S. Mainly, for us, it would be stainless steel kegs.
MARTIN: Now we called you because the congressman said that you were very excited about this, but it does seem to me that you're a little hesitant. Or are you sure that this proposal would help you?
CZACHOR: No, we're not 100 percent sure. We're excited - the fact that the administration is looking at, you know, how do we become more productive in the U.S.? How do we bring jobs back to the U.S.? How do we restart manufacturing in the U.S.? So we think it's some of the right steps forward, but we are very concerned that in the short term, it could drive up steel prices.
MARTIN: That's Paul Czachor. He's the CEO of the American Keg Company. We reached him at his offices in Pottstown, Pa. Mr. Czachor, thanks so much for speaking to us. Keep in touch.
CZACHOR: All right. Thank you for having me on. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.