Staying ahead of the curve is important in any industry and agave spirits is no different. As the global market experiences a boom that has no signs of tapering off or slowing down, producers, brands, and consumers alike play a pivotal role in its long-term sustainability and direction.
Here are three trends that we’re keeping an eye on as they shape the industry for years to come:
The Rise of Premiumization
The premiumization of agave spirits isn’t simply conjecture—it's an undeniable reality. According to a report by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the national trade association representing producers and marketers of distilled spirits sold in the U.S., super-premium tequilas and mezcals have witnessed exponential growth over the last two decades with sales by volume skyrocketing 1522% since 2003.
With notable celebrities creating their own brands and labels, larger companies entering the market, and consumers learning more about agave distillates, we can expect that high-end and super-premium options will continue to make their way into bars, restaurants, and homes.
Food for thought: How are we defining “premium” optionsand how much of that definition is driven by marketing and “big names” vs. the actual product and its quality?
Sustainability Takes Center Stage
In an era where conscious consumerism shapes purchasing decisions and environmental impacts are being experienced first-hand, sustainability is no longer a choice—it's an imperative. The Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) illuminates this shift, investing over MX$7 million (US$413,799.6) to transition toward sustainable production and aiming for 100% of all tequila produced to be certified as deforestation free by 2027. Beyond this, farmers and producers of tequila, mezcal, and other agave spirits are also shifting their focus and practices, becoming more and more vocal about measures that must be taken to protect the industry, the environment, and their livelihoods.
With increased initiatives tied to agave plants such as The Billion Agave Project, more options for repurposing byproducts, and closer watch by consumers and advocates, we can expect sustainability to remain a hot topic across the industry and value chain.
Food for thought: How can traditional cultivation and production methods be adapted for modern contexts and options, without compromising authenticity?
Agave Spirits Beyond Borders
Agave spirits are transcending geographical boundaries, with enthusiasts worldwide developing a penchant for mezcal, tequila, and other distillates. While the authenticity of products will always be tied to Mexico thanks to tradition and regulations, more people are able to partake in the spirits—and more are. The mezcal market alone is projected to reach USD $2.1 billion by 2030 with increased consumption throughout Europe and Asia-Pacific.
This growth of the category as a whole is directly tied to the agave species, terroir, and production methods that create a level of variety that few other spirits can speak to. And as Deano Moncrieffe, co-owner of an agaveria in London, shared with The Spirits Business, consumers don’t just want to drink—they want to learn, too. We can expect producers and brands to strengthen their distribution channels across borders to reach consumers eager to sip on something new.
Food for thought: As agave spirits travel farther and farther away from their place of origin, how can we ensure that the culture, history, and essence tied to them don’t get left behind?
Preparing for What’s Next
At the core of each of these trends is data and information—without it, both producers and buyers are unable to make the business decisions necessary to meet demands and responsibly use their resources.
Maguey Exchange works to digitize distilleries and collect, analyze, and share the metrics that matter most for sourcing, production, and procurement. This includes details about agave type to ensure sustainable harvesting, palenque facts and figures to better determine capacity and timelines, and tracking and tracing to know where spirits are at every step.
The world of artisanal spirits is expanding, and with it the promise of what’s possible for farmers, producers, brands, and consumers alike. As we look ahead, technological tools such as Maguey Exchange makes it easier to take the steps necessary to take full advantage.
Are you an importer or brand looking to expand your portfolio or make sourcing and procurement easier? We invite you to share your experiences with us by participating in this brief survey. Your perspective matters greatly and can help change the face of agave spirits production and consumption!