Tequila: Never a dull moment

24 October, 2018

Patrón is one producer addressing this, as the first tequila producer to collaborate with Lalique to create the packaging for its limited-edition luxury expression, Patrón en Lalique. “Lalique previously had only collaborated with prestige whiskies and cognacs – it is great for tequila to be considered in the same regard,” says Applbaum.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s ongoing work from some producers to bring tequila cocktails to a wider audience through RTDs. So far these have hardly been seen in Europe, but this looks set to change with the recent introduction of the new Sierra Tequila RTD Margarita, for example.

THE ROAD AHEAD

In spite of all its challenges, there’s no doubt that there are some great opportunities for tequila in global markets. Berardi is optimistic. “Tequila is still a young category,” he says. “It’s still growing in popularity, and internationally there’s still more for people to understand about the quality of 100% agave tequilas.”

“The tequila category has hardly peaked and continues to experience strong growth, driven largely by the premium segment of the market. Tequila is growing from a much smaller base than say, gin, vodka or rum, and the opportunities for continued incremental growth on the global stage are immense,” adds Applbaum.

The trend towards handcrafted spirits and traceability mentioned by Smith is here to stay though, and one that looks likely to be increasingly important to the fate of this category. In addition to general work within the sector, and ongoing education, there are some initiatives that aim to address this issue.

Patrón, for example, helped to create the Know Your NOM website with this in mind. “It helps people to track which of the 140 regulated tequila distilleries make the 1,400 or so brands of tequila available, using the information collated by the CRT,” says Applbaum.

Meanwhile, Smith is about to launch a service entitled Agavista, with which producers of Mexican spirits will be able to provide information about various aspects of their production process, with the goal of “more transparent communication between producer and consumer”, he says.

“Before the internet, you could do a beautiful bottle and mix a product from different sources, with low production costs, and then sell it for a high price, and tell a story that wasn’t really true. That doesn’t work anymore. I hope the tequila industry grabs this opportunity,” Smith adds. He says that about 100 producers have already signed up.

With initiatives such as these, and with tequila continuing to rise to its challenges and seize its opportunities, the future looks bright, and filled with agave spirits.





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