Don't panic, but the world is facing a serious tequila shortage 7 months ago

Don't panic, but the world is facing a serious tequila shortage

And you thought Dry January was over...

Happy hour's done. Dry January's getting an extension. Pubs will reconsider ever installing Desperados on draught. The news is bad from Mexico as a tequila shortage appears on the horizon.

A surge in global demand for the spirit has resulted in mass shortages of its key ingredient, agave, a blue-tinted spiky plant, which is also used for insulin and sugar-free syrups.

This year, a total of 42 million agave plants were projected to supply 140 registered companies. However, only 17.7 million of those planted in 2011 are ready to be harvested, the Tequila Regulatory Council and National Tequila Industry Chamber have said.

Agave requires approximately eight years to mature, but the drastic spike in demand means cutting corners to maintain the current momentum. In a recent report, Reuters spoke with one worker in Guanajuato, Mexico who said the markets are now "using four-year-old plants because there aren't any others."

"I can guarantee it because I have sold them," he added.

These choices have in turn lessened the produce, while worsening the shortage. It has also led to a spike in agave plant theft with 15,000 being stolen in 2017, which is a triple that in 2016.

As agave weakens on the supply end, the price has shot up from 21c a kilo to $1.18 over the past two years. This six-fold increase, coupled with the likelihood of shortages until 2021, means either you're going to have to lump it for a poorer quality tequila or get used to drinking gin and tonics.

Expect more and more of your tequila nights (for those of you who enjoy tequila nights) to resemble those Breaking Bad cartel gatherings...

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Without all of the mass poisoning, of course.

One of the main issues is being put down to "premiumisation", which means brands encourage consumers to drink in moderation products that are of a higher quality.

At least in the US, pure/ premium tequila has shot up over the last 10 years by 198%, while cheaper blend tequilas only went up 11%. During that same period, production in Mexico declined by 4%.

Now you know. Our need to have the finer things in life is destroying the world. It happened with the Avocado and real butter. Now, it's tequila too.

So, the next time an alcohol sales rep tells you how the brand really encourages drinking less, but at a higher quality, you can respond by saying all of this, before shotgunning a can simply labelled Lager (preferably misspelled).

Or alternatively, go easy on the tequila.

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