This year, tequila production is expected to rise 25 percent annually, driven by demand for the drink and the incursion of a score of actors, singers, athletes and influencers such as basketball player LeBron James, the lead singer of Maroon 5 , Adam Levine and celebrity Kendall Jenner.
“The expectation is that the year ends with an increase of between 20 and 25 percent above, we are practically already close to exceeding the production of 2020,” estimated Ramón González, general director of the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT).
He added that of the nearly 1,850 tequila brands that exist, it is estimated that about 15 are famous, which means that by volume they contribute less than 5 percent of the agave distillate production.
In the first eight months of this year, 348.7 million liters of tequila were produced, which means an increase of 42 percent compared to the 245.8 million liters produced from January to August of last year and also 42 percent above the 245.1 million liters produced in the same period of 2019, before COVID-19. In addition to only 25 million liters below the 374 million liters produced throughout 2020.
It should be noted that, of the total tequila produced in the last eight months, 63 percent was destined for the export market.
“Much of that excess that we are seeing right now is being stored, it is going to maturation, I think this year will close with a record number of barrels, they have a differentiated value due to their maturation because imagine, they are products of a wait of at least 10 years from the sowing of the agave ”, related González.
The first celebrity to take an interest in tequila was guitarist Carlos Santana in 1996 with Casa Noble, a business he sold in 2014 to beverage producer Constellation Brands. Although the most successful case was George Clooney with his Casamigos tequila, which he started as a brand in 2013 and whose brand the actor sold in 2017 to the international Diageo for one billion dollars.
On the list of personalities, Justin Timberlake who teamed up with Casa Sauza for his brand 901, Daddy Yankee with ‘El Cartel’ that sponsors urban music events in his native Puerto Rico, Michael Jordan co-founder of Cincoro, Dwayne Johnson ‘La Roca’ stand out. with Teremana, among others.
“Tequila by itself is growing, it is fashionable and that is why everyone wants to ‘get on the train’, but like any other fashion there are brands that will not survive even when they have been put on by celebrities,” said César Enríquez Morán, director of the American Marketing Association (AMA).
As an example, the recent launch of Kendall Jenner with her 818 tequila, which has been attacked on social networks as opportunist and for cultural appropriation, when wearing Mexican outfits during her presentation.
While others, like Elon Musk, face legal conflicts, after the millionaire tried to name his tequila Teslaquila, which was rejected by the designation of origin that allows tequila to be called only the drink that is produced in Mexico, so Musk’s brand would create confusion.
“In the case of Tesla, they were in default for some time, because it was a mixture of the word Tesla with Tequila, but they have already corrected and Destiladora Del Valle are the ones that carry out the product and national packaging,” shared Tamara Nava, director of development of national business in Clarke & Modet México.
Mix of beer and flavored
Firms such as Heineken and Grupo Modelo have boosted the demand for tequila by producing blends with beers and flavors.
Heineken reached an agreement with the Mexican authorities to be able to continue its production of ‘Desperados’, a tequila-flavored beer. Meanwhile, Constellation Brands initiated a dispute with both the CRT and Grupo Modelo for marketing Modelo Reserva, a beer with tequila.
For its part, Casa Don Ramón launched a version of its tamarind-flavored tequila, with which it sought to increase the demand for its drink, given the closure of bars, canteens and entertainment centers.
“We do see a 20 percent increase in sales,” said Claudia Cetto Padilla, member of the Casa Don Ramón advisory council.