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HomeBusinessTequila may overtake vodka as America's high liquor as gross sales increase

Tequila may overtake vodka as America’s high liquor as gross sales increase


An worker pours tequila into the favored Mountain Dew Baja Blast frozen drink on the new Taco Bell Cantina in Brookline, MA.

John Tlumacki | Boston Globe | Getty Pictures

Tequila may quickly overtake vodka as America’s favourite liquor, fueled by customers’ need for dear bottles of agave-based spirits.

Tequila and mezcal was the second-fastest rising spirits class in 2021, trailing only premixed cocktails. Agave-based spirits noticed gross sales climb 30.1% in contrast with the prior yr to $5.2 billion, in response to the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S.

It was additionally the second-largest class by income behind No. 1 vodka, which has been the top-selling spirit within the U.S. because the Nineteen Seventies. At $7.3 billion in income, vodka continues to be promoting roughly $2 billion extra yearly than tequila and mezcal, however agave-based spirits could possibly be on observe to outstrip it in just some years.

For extra proof of the pattern, look no additional than casinos. Julian Cox, famend bartender and government director of beverage and company mixologist for MGM Resorts International, stated whole gross sales of vodka and tequila are operating neck and neck on the hospitality large.

“No person may imagine it,” he stated.

Utilizing quantity as a measure, vodka nonetheless stays king. In keeping with DISCUS, the liquor offered 78.1 million instances in 2021, greater than double the quantity of the following class: premixed cocktails. Tequila and mezcal scored a distant fourth at 26.8 million instances.

Excessive-end tequilas are serving to drive progress for the class, in response to Christine LoCascio, DISCUS chief of public coverage.

“It isn’t only for margaritas,” LoCascio stated on the commerce group’s annual financial briefing on Thursday. “There are such a lot of high-end tequilas which you can sip and savor like many different high-end merchandise, like whiskeys and cognacs and bourbons and high-end rums as effectively.”

Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes echoed that sentiment on the corporate’s latest earnings name. The distiller owns two upscale tequila manufacturers: Don Julio and Casamigos.

“The class’s enchantment throughout demographics is important,” he stated. “It has crossed over. The multicultural progress may be very sturdy. It cuts throughout age segments, it cuts throughout gender, it cuts throughout dayparts, the event and the character of drinks. It isn’t simply photographs and margaritas because it was once a few years in the past.”

The Crown Royal proprietor is forecasting that tequila gross sales will develop quicker than the broader spirits trade for the following 5 to 10 years. Within the first half of its fiscal 2022, it noticed tequila gross sales surge 56% over the year-earlier interval.

Tequila can also be serving to the spirits trade steal prospects from beer. Tony Abou-Ganim, superstar mixologist and creator of “Vodka Distilled,” created the beverage applications for T-Cell Enviornment and Allegiant Stadium, each in Las Vegas. The sports activities venues have margaritas on the menu, made with recent components and 100% agave tequila.

“Lots of people assume once they go to an enviornment or stadium, ‘I am simply going to drink beer,’ and our feeling was, if we put a greater margarita of their arms, they are going to purchase margaritas. And that is confirmed to be the case,” Abou-Ganim stated.

DISCUS’s LoCascio additionally acknowledged that high-profile superstar launches have helped draw consideration to the class.

A bunch of celebrities have rolled out their very own tequila and mezcal manufacturers, together with each actor and former skilled wrestler Dwayne Johnson and mannequin Kendall Jenner final yr. Along with hopping on the agave bandwagon, they’re hoping to emulate the success of George Clooney’s Casamigos tequila, which was offered to Diageo for $1 billion in 2017. Final yr, Constellation Brands invested in “Breaking Bad” co-stars Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston’s Dos Hombres mezcal for an undisclosed quantity.

Mezcal’s progress potential

About 98% of agave-based spirits’ $5.2 billion gross sales had been from tequila, which is just constituted of the blue agave plant. Mezcal is a wider label, making use of to any spirit made utilizing dozens of sorts of agave.

“[Mezcal] is rising, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a really small portion of that broader class,” LoCascio stated.

MGM’s Cox is bullish on the way forward for mezcal, citing the wide range of flavors and style profiles. “Mezcal is sort of a taste bomb,” he stated. “For cocktail making, should you use it in the correct medium, you’ve got bought lots of taste.”

Julian Cox

Supply: MGM Resorts Worldwide

As soon as customers attempt cocktails made with mezcal, the following step for class promoters is to introduce them to spirits made with all the completely different sorts of agave.

Abou-Ganim stated youthful customers are main the cost, desperate to develop their style horizons. There is a geographic ingredient to its progress as effectively. Cox, who was beforehand primarily based in Los Angeles however now works in Las Vegas, stated most guests to Sin Metropolis stay largely uninformed about mezcal.

Mezcal is seen as genuine to its roots and custom, interesting to purists like Cox and Abou-Ganim. Mexico has positioned laws on what distillers can name mezcal, limiting manufacturing to sure states within the nation. (Uncertified merchandise will be offered within the U.S. labeled as “agave spirits.”)

“They can not make lots of mezcal, and that is the wonder and the artwork of it,” stated Abou-Ganim.



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