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What Now? Global Package President, Erica Harrop, Speaks Out On New Tariffs
September 19, 2018

On September 18, 2018 Erica Harrop, CEO and founder of Global Package LLC, released this statement regarding new tariffs recently imposed on glass:

           Does anyone remember what it was like before China bottles took hold of our industry? I remember it well. Importing was for specialty bottles and quality design was respected. US factories were the juggernaut of the glass suppliers, filling the needs of most of the industry until the glass shortages in 2007 forced glass distributors to find new sources. Those new sources saved the wine industry from catastrophic shortages and benefited the wine and spirits industries in the long run. However, that disruption blurred the role and quality level of glassmakers to the point where it was difficult to distinguish one glassmaker’s bottle shapes and glass source from another. Customers gave up searching for experienced high-quality suppliers, resulting in “good enough” pricing, but a lot less creativity and poorer quality. 

           So what can we expect now?  Pricing, of course, remains important. But glass quality and creative design have proven to be of equal, if not more, important in today’s industry marketplace. A recent article in Wines & Vines points out that

“consumers are not only spending more on wine in total, they are also exhibiting a willingness to spend more per bottle,” which would include ultra-premium, high-end fancy bottles, and bottles heavier than 650 grams.” (Read the full article here: https://bit.ly/2OxLPAs).

            Given this trend, I believe it is time to again look at imports from Europe. The exchange rate is good and European glass has a long and storied history of high-end quality glass that reflects each individual country’s local culture.

            Premium bottles of about 500-700 grams are also now being made in North America, some of better quality than others as factories realize the complexity of making heavier bottles.  However buyers need to beware of really cheap imports from unqualified sources.  For instance, if performance on the bottling line is important to you, you should look for qualified distributors who have been working for years with glass producers and who know the intricacies of bottling line performance.  

           It’s also important to remember that domestic glass suppliers are good choices for commodity wines that must fight for shelf attention. The world of domestic glass suppliers accounts for 80% of the glass supplied to our industry, and availability is generally predictable.

            In short, the current 10% and future 25% tariff in January will make imported glass from China more expensive. I personally think it would make sense for China to revise its quantitative expectations and start working with premium bottles, where value would equal paying a bit more.

            For over a decade Global Package has created bottles, stock and custom, for the high end premium and ultra-premium markets, creating new opportunities for wineries to build existing and new brands with adherence to the highest quality standards. We also now have a wide selection of domestic bottles in stock, and we specialize in European bottles, with the ability to source higher-end bottles at very good pricing.

            Call and see what we can offer as the glass world continues to change. Contact info@globalpackage.net or 707-224-5670. Global Package is located at 2793 Napa Valley Corporate Drive, Napa, CA 94558.


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