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Dock Street protests trade barriers with upside down labels on bottles this month.

Dock Street protests trade barriers with upside down labels on bottles this month

Citing the unfair trade barriers faced by American beers in foreign countries, Dock Street Brewing Co. has announced that during the month of June all of its bottle labels will be applied upside down in protest.

Last week, Jeffrey Ware, president, Dock Street, sent a letter to key U.S. officials in Washington, D.C., urging them to consider hiking tariffs on brew imported from those countries currently levying heavy taxes on U.S. products.

"While the United States' markets have historically been free from barriers to the importation and sale of foreign beers, U.S. brewers have not enjoyed the same openness in foreign markets." Besides the upside down labels, the Dock Street bottle also sports a bottle neck label with "Protest" stamped over the usual Dock Street logo, as well as an explanation for the out-of-the-ordinary labeling.

"At first the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were reluctant to let us to put that neck label on there," Ware explained, "but, after looking and seeing nothing to find fault in, they had to allow it."

In a letter sent out to U.S. Senators, Ware stated, "Access to foreign markets has been severely limited through a combination of high tariffs, restrictive distribution practices and strong nationalistic attitudes."

Ware noted that the countries belonging to the European Economic Conference (EEC) discourage the importation of American beers with "a hefty 24-percent import duty." However, Ware continued, EEC nations allow free passage of their own beers.

"As a result, U.S. imports from the Netherlands alone were more than one and one-half times the amount of all U.S. beer exports," Ware exclaimed.

The Dock Street president also cited China, and the United States' recent extension of "most favored nation" status. "Forget Tianamnen Square," Ware said. "There's no democracy for U.S. beers in China. The Peoples Republic slaps a staggering 120-percent import on U.S. beers!"

In the letter, Ware states that although he is not advocating a ban on imported beer, he would like to see U.S. import policies that correspond with those of our international trading partners. "If, for example, Mexico imposes a 20-percent duty on U.S. beers, we should tax Mexican beers at the same rate, or demand that their duty be lowered.

"Until these inequities are eliminated," Ware concluded, "we can only urge American consumers to boycott the products of these countries and to buy American."

Although Ware has not heard from importers, who would likely be most affected by such a push, some of those wholesalers handling Dock Street refused to handle the package so as "not to step on any toes," he said.

Fighting along with Ware, G. Heileman Brewing Co. is currently battling those Canadian provinces putting restrictive taxes on U.S.-brewed beer. With that kind of exposure, coupled with his own efforts, Ware hopes to have a positive effect on the U.S. trade laws.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Jun 11, 1990
Previous Article:Coors Brewing signs agreement in principle to purchase Stroh Brewery Co.'s Memphis, Tennessee brewery.
Next Article:Alcohol tax plan wins approval in CA's Senate.

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