Was tequila your favorite drink lately? Maybe it’s a Paloma on a hot day, a high-energy margarita or a two-finger pour of extra anejo at the end of the night.
Well, you are not the only one. A new report from the CGA by NielsenIQ has found that alcoholic drinkers are choosing tequila over higher-end brown spirits.
The agave-based spirits category presents a challenge for whiskey and vodka, with recent growth outpacing both categories at more than one price level. ResearchandMarket.com has agreed to expect the global tequila market size to reach $14.35 billion by 2028, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 5.4% over that period.
The prediction platform found that the biggest driver of this growth are tequila-based cocktails: farm waters, Palomas, Oaxacan Old Fashioneds, and the like. 50% of tequila drinkers prefer the cocktails of their choice, 42% of tequila drinkers prefer it in shot form and 20% prefer it in style. CGA analysis expects Tequila Blanco to grow at the fastest clip, largely due to increased demand for tequila-based cocktails from millennials. The margarita, ubiquitous and delicious, is the #1 aged cocktail, as reported by the CGA.
“Tequila will undoubtedly continue to rise in popularity and growth,” says Andrew Hamill, director of customer solutions for the Americas at CGA. Tequila, which accounts for 18% of spirits, is the only subcategory in the spirits space with more than 1% growth.
The biggest instigator of the big growth spurt in tequila is the premium. While rising to the top is a widespread trend across the liquor industry, tequila is seeing the most momentum, especially at premium, premium price points. Purchasing platform Drizly notes that in-stock tariffs have grown 10.5% for blanco, 11% for reposado and 15% for anejo in the past year.
Data from the Distilled Liquor Council of the United States (DISCUS) showed sales of premium spirits grew 43% last year, led largely by tequila and American whiskey. Tequila saw the largest gains (75% annual growth rate) in the US market followed by American whiskey and cognac at 46% and 31%, respectively. Tequila sales in North America increased steadily from 2002 through 2016, when sales reached a record high of $22.3 billion.
While all sub-sections of tequila – from blanco to anejo-extra – are experiencing the most growth, the premium segment is seeing the biggest growth as consumers increasingly lean towards higher quality (or look at higher quality) tequila with premium brands. Several new premium tequilas, incorporating everything from longer life data to handcrafted bottles, have hit the market over the past couple of years.
In 2019, Casa Herradura launched their premium tequila brand Reserva de la Familia. At $250 a bottle, it was available in limited quantities. Pātsch recently launched with an extra anejo ($345) as a main bottle. It is 7 years old and is packaged in a unique glass bottle with a handle. Campari’s Espolon now offers Cristalino tequila ($60), served in a slightly more subtle version of the short bottle. 1800 Tequila recently auctioned a very rare antique in a beaker designed specifically for artist Leonora Carrington. Bidding started with $25,000.
“The trend of price sentiment has accelerated in recent years to a new high in 2021,” said Christine Lucasio, Head of Public Policy at DISCUS. “In the face of restaurant and travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, consumers have increased their purchases of premium spirits to elevate their cocktail experiences at home.”