Tequila Day is celebrated on July 24 to commemorate the day that Unesco declared the old industrial facilities and the agave plant landscapes in the town of Tequila, Jalisco, as a world heritage site.
The production of tequila increased by 6% in 2020 to the historic 374 million liters, and only in the first half of 2021 it already accumulates an annual growth of more than 37% with about 260 million, reveals data from the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT).
Meanwhile, exports increased 16% in 2020 to almost 286.7 million liters, while in the first half of this year they have already risen 22.45% annually, exceeding 157 million, according to the CRT.
The export of tequila and mezcal is the third agri-food product with the most foreign demand, only behind beer and avocado, reports the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture.
“In numbers, (the pandemic) has not hurt the tequila industry so much, in reality, they have continued to sell. It’s funny but part of the confinement is trying to calm down with a few drinks, ” Ricardo Flores, an expert at the Museum of Tequila and Mezcal (Mutem) in Mexico City, told EFE in a recent interview.
But the drink faces challenges beyond its numbers and the pandemic.
The organization, The Climate Reality Project, has warned of the “devastating” effects of the climate crisis on the cultivation of agave, which suffers from extreme temperature changes such as heatwaves and effects on rainfall patterns.
Losing the agave would increase pollution because the plant can extract and store the equivalent of 30 to 60 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare.
“Mexico risks losing a strong economic income: in 2019 alone the industry generated more than 70,000 jobs,” he warns in an analysis.
Another challenge is to take care of the denomination of origin worldwide, for which the CRT has achieved protection in 55 countries in the world.
Just this month, the Council reported an agreement with Heineken that resolves legal disputes over the use of the word “tequila” in the Desperados beer produced by the Dutch company.
“Unfortunately, the twentieth-century regulations came perhaps too late for our drinks, they began in Europe, but today respect for tequila is worldwide,” says Flores.
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