By BRUCE SCHREINER
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky's Republican governor is downplaying fears that the European Union's retaliatory tariffs could disrupt the booming market for the Bluegrass state's iconic bourbon industry. But Gov. Matt Bevin's comments are at odds with his home state's whiskey distillers.
During a TV interview this week with Bloomberg, Bevin called the tariffs a "money grab" by the EU, and downplayed fears it could inflict pain on distillers in Kentucky.
Bevin referred to Europe as a "small portion" of the bourbon market. But the Kentucky Distillers' Association says EU countries accounted for nearly $200 million of the more than $450 million in total exports of Kentucky bourbon and other distilled spirits in 2017.
The governor's comments downplaying the effect of tariffs stood in stark contrast to the distillers' group.