Jeronimo Gonzalez
Jeronimo Gonzalez
Feb 24, 2023, 8:26am EST
businessSouth America

Surging European demand for tequila sends the price of agave soaring

Ted Mcgrath/Flickr

Sign up for Semafor Business: Follow the money (and the memes.) Read it now.

Title icon

The News

Tequila is taking off in Europe, sending prices for agave — the plant used to make the liquor — soaring.

Title icon

Know More

Despite post-pandemic alcohol sales sagging, Mexican exports of tequila jumped by 90% to Spain, 73% to France and 68% to Britain last year alone.

We definitely run out every weekend,” a bartender in London told Reuters. Worldwide tequila exports increased by 23% last year.

The price for agave recently hit $1.7 per kilo, up fourfold from average prices in the past decade. “It’s a supply-and-demand issue,” a market analyst said to the news agency. “There is a massive shortage of agave.

Title icon

The View From Mexico

Scientists are concerned that irregular weather patterns linked to climate change may disrupt the cultivation of the Weber blue agave that tequila is made from.


“With extreme weather in conjunction with unpredictability,” an expert from the Union of Concerned Scientists told CNN, “it’s so hard to predict where this is going to go in the future.”

State governments are also concerned that surging demand for tequila is fueling the smuggling of agave from regions that don’t meet the required criteria to make the liquor, El Sol de León reported.

Title icon

The View From The U.S.

Tequila has been surging in popularity in the U.S. too, with imports more than doubling in the decade to 2022.

Fueled by sales of pricey bottles, tequila could soon pass vodka as the bestselling liquor in the U.S., CNBC reported.

The category’s appeal across demographics is significant,” Ivan Menezes, CEO of beverage-maker Diageo, told the outlet. “It has crossed over. The multicultural growth is very strong. It cuts across age segments, it cuts across gender, it cuts across dayparts, the occasion and the nature of drinks. It’s not just shots and margaritas as it used to be many years ago.”