The world is waking up to Tequila with the category quickly becoming the choice of drink for a new generation of consumers focused on seeking out super- and ultra-premium expressions. Tequila exports exceeded US$1 billion for the first time in history in 2014, according to the National Chamber of the Tequila industry (CNIT), growing by 10% from US$997 million in 2013 to US$1.1bn.
Dozens of ultra-premium brands are now enjoying marked success, while Diageo signalled its confidence in the category by acquiring the Don Julio Tequila brand from Casa Cuervo in exchange for its Irish whiskey Bushmill late last year. Meanwhile Hollywood actor George Clooney has launched his own premium Tequila, Casamigos, no doubt helping to further raise the reputation of the spirit.
Made from the blue agave plant, Tequila can only only be called such if it is produced in the state of Jalisco in Mexico, home to the city of Tequila. Mezcal is a style of Tequila produced outside of this region. While the slammer approach to Tequila is common, most Mexicans would recoil in horror to watch a fine extra Añejo necked down with a lick of salt, preferring instead to sip it neat.