In the wake of tit-for-tat tariffs, America's beloved liquid spirit is caught in the crosshairs of Washington's escalating trade battle.
In a collective strategic political punch, China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union have all slapped tariffs on America's booming bourbon industry. The duties came in reaction to the Trump administration's move to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum.
"When they targeted this particular category of spirits, it's clear that it was done with the intention of hitting at the heart of what is so clearly important to the American economy," explained Margie Lehrman, executive director of the American Craft Spirits Association.
"You can't get any closer to home than something that is grown by an American farmer," Lehrman told CNBC, adding the tariffs pose significant threats to the U.S. grain industry as well as distillers.
"Bourbon is truly Americana," said whiskey collector Bill Thomas, proprietor of Washington D.C.'s Jack Rose Saloon, which is popular for its extensive bourbon selection.
"When you talk about tariffs on steel or aluminum or anything else, bourbon just can't be produced anywhere else than the United States," Thomas told CNBC in a prior interview. "So in many ways, this is a symbolic target on American culture because bourbon is so intertwined with who we are."
And nowhere else is bourbon so intimately intertwined than in Kentucky.