Soaring Agave Prices Make a Tequila Shortage a Legit Concern

Margarita lovers, brace yourselves: a worldwide tequila shortage could be on the horizon, threatening the life of the massively popular cocktail everywhere.

In Jalisco, where most of Mexican tequila is produced, a shortage of blue agave, a succulent used to make the spirit, is stressing out tequila producers both big and small. The shortage is caused by a growing demand for tequila from the U.S. and Tokyo, with Americans gulping more than 80 percent of the stuff.

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According to Reuters, the price of agave has gone up six-fold over the past two years, from 3.85 to 22 pesos per kilo, forcing smaller distillers out of the game. In Mexico, one farmer told the outlet he had been “forced to use young plants to compensate for the shortage.”

Agave plants take seven to eight years to mature. When farmers prematurely pull these plants they produce less tequila meaning more plants need to be pulled from the already shortening supplies.  

Sadly, the shortage is expected to worsen in 2018 and will continue into 2021.

The wildly popular drink has made a spot for itself on top shelves throughout bars and restaurants, which leads to many companies to wonder how they will keep pace with the growing demand.

“The growth has overtaken us. It’s a crisis of success of the industry,” Francisco Soltero, director of strategic planning at Patron, told Reuters. He added, “We thought that we were going to grow a certain amount, and we’re growing double.”

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The crisis has even resulted in theft. According to the CRT, 15,000 plants were reported stolen which is triple the amount reported in 2016.

Enjoy those happy hour margs now, folks.