Agave shortage to blame for rising tequila prices


Your Cinco de Mayo celebrations could cost you a couple bucks extra this year.

The key ingredient to making tequila is the agave plant, which is currently in the midst of a global shortage. Reuters reported the price of the blue, spiky plant has risen sixfold over the past two years.

“Tequila has definitely gone in a higher-end market is what we have noticed…we’re seeing more and more brands that are 40 plus dollars a bottle go out on a more regular basis instead of the lower-end stuff,” Trent Butler, general manager at ABC Discount Wine and Spirits said.

Butler reports a price increase but not necessarily a shortage of supply. At his shop on 21st Street, he pointed out a line of top-shelf bottles with George Clooney’s signature on them. Clooney is a recent celebrity to get involved with the industry.

“With the shortage and stuff like that, there are people noticing how good of an investment opportunity that will be for future investments,” Butler said.

Recognizable brands like Jose Cuervo have continued to fare well, Butler said, but consumers are getting more educated on the liquor.

“They’re definitely looking for the 100 percent agave, the 100 percent agave basically states it’s going to be of quality product,” Butler said.

Cheaper tequilas have labels like “made with blue agave” which indicates that sugar was added as a supplement in the process. 

To be called tequila, the liquor must be made in the state of Jalisco, Mex. Other similar liquors are called “mixtos.”

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