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Schwartz’s Is Out of Cherry Soda, Possibly Due to Trump’s Aluminium Tariffs

A chicken and egg conundrum

A Schwartz smoked meat sandwich, without cherry soda
Schwartz’s Deli/Facebook

Famed Montreal deli Schwartz’s is unable to give customers cherry soda with its smoked meat sandwiches, and deli staff and suppliers suggest that US president Donald Trump’s trade tariffs are to blame.

The Plateau Jewish deli is best known for its smoked meat sandwiches, but for decades, those looking for the full iconic experience have typically ordered that meat on rye with fries, pickles, and a can of Cott Black Cherry soda — but the sugary refreshment is off the menu for now, according to Le Journal de Montréal. The CBC estimated that around 50 per cent of Schwartz’s customers order the cherry drink with their meals.

Longtime Schwartz’s manager Frank Silva told both the Journal and the CBC that trade tariffs are to blame — back in May, Trump placed tariffs (an extra import fee) on Canadian aluminium being imported into the United States. In turn, Canada put similar taxes on aluminium moving from the USA to Canada — it seems that the extra costs for moving raw aluminium across borders could have prompted shortages.

Silva explained that Schwartz’s supplier, the Cott Corporation, had blamed the trade tariffs from Trump and the Canadian government for the shortage. However, the CBC did some extra digging after the Journal story, and further up the chain, a representative for Refresca (of which Cott is a subsidiary) said the issue was a result of a more general aluminium shortage in the industry, and not directly tied to the tariffs.

While the cherry soda cans are made in Canada, tariffs could have an impact if the raw materials are imported from the United States (for example, forcing prices up). Over in the beer industry, there is evidence for an aluminium shortage — but reporting on that issue suggests that the beer industry’s shortage could be a ripple effect stemming from tariffs, giving the whole issue a chicken-and-egg feel.

So is the cherry soda drought due to geopolitics or pure supply and demand? It’s unclear, but in any case, Schwartz’s is likely to get the drink back in stock at the end of October or early November.

Schwartz's Deli

3895 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2W 1X9 (514) 842-4813