It’s no secret that tequila is hot, but now there’s some empirical data to affirm the industry chatter. The numbers for 2018 are out from the National Tequila Regulatory Chamber (CNIT) and Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT); last year once again shattered export records.
222.7 million liters of tequila were exported from Mexico last year. That’s a 5.5% jump above the previous record set in 2017.
“Tequila currently represents 1.0% of the global spirits market, so there is still an important possibility of growth,” CNIT President Rodolfo González told El Economista.
Likewise, production increased 12.9% over 2017 to reach 309.1 million liters. (That figure is a bit shy of the record 312 million liters produced in 2008.)
A whopping 82.5% of those exports landed in the U.S. Germany, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Japan, Canada, Latvia and South Africa rounded out the top ten list (in that order.)
Tequila’s popularity began to drastically increase abut 20 years ago followed by a second, even greater leap, overdrive-style leap in demand around 2008. The steep and steady growth is now actually sparking concerns in the industry.
“The growth has overtaken us. It’s a crisis of success of the industry,” Francisco Soltero, Patron’s Director of Strategic Planning. told Reuters last year. ”We thought that we were going to grow a certain amount, and we’re growing double.”
The spirit must (by law) be made with blue agave, a plant that typically takes 7-8 years to mature. Skyrocketing demand sparked shortages along with subsequent price spikes and premature harvesting. Larger companies have maintained supplies, but often passed the price onto the consumer. However, many smaller producers have struggled to stay afloat.
Photo courtesy of fromhomeparacasa.