Tequila prices rise due to Agave shortage
Put down that Margarita! This might be a bitter cocktail to swallow.
The next time you go out for margaritas, be prepared to dole out a lot more for your favorite Mexican Spirit. The Cause? The global rise in demand for pure Tequila is causing a shortage of the agave plant.
As drinkers around the world were growing a taste for pure tequila, trouble was brewing on the horizon for tequila producers in Mexico.
Agave tequilana [also known as blue agave], a main ingredient of tequila, takes 7 to 8 years to mature. With only a small portion of the 2011 crop ready for harvest, producers have been left with a huge deficit.
Industry leaders say 42 million plants are needed to meet demand, and some growers are turning to harvest younger plants to make up for the limited supply. But these young plants cannot produce as much tequila as their fully matured counterparts.
The shortage has many producers worried. Agave prices have risen six-fold in the last two years, making it near impossible to compete with other spirits. Salvador Rosales, manager of smaller producer Tequila Cascahuin, told Reuters that “a lot of companies will disappear [if this continues].”
But tequila isn’t the only thing to blame for this shortage. Rise in demand for other agave-derived products, such as agave syrup and inulin supplements, are influencing the agave supply as well.
Shortages are predicted to continue through 2021, while producers improve planting strategies and plants bear fruit.
With the United States being a mass consumer of pure & blended tequilas, tequila lovers may want to stock up on their favorite brands now.