Why Tequila Prices Keep Climbing

Why Tequila Prices Keep Climbing

Tequila, the quintessential Mexican spirit made from the blue agave plant, has been steadily gaining popularity in bars, restaurants, and homes around the world. Its versatility in cocktails, as well as its nuanced flavors when sipped neat, have elevated it to more than just a party drink. However, if you’re a fan of tequila, you’ve probably noticed a trend: the prices are climbing. Let’s explore the various reasons why tequila is becoming more expensive.

Increase in Global Demand

As tequila gains international recognition and becomes more popular globally, the demand for high-quality spirits has surged. This naturally puts upward pressure on prices, as distilleries scramble to keep up with global consumption rates.

Limited Supply of Blue Agave

The production of tequila is dependent on the blue agave plant, which takes between seven to ten years to mature. This slow growth cycle can result in shortages, especially if distilleries haven’t adequately planned their agave cultivation in advance. With an increase in demand for tequila, the available supply of blue agave has struggled to keep pace, contributing to higher prices.

Labor-Intensive Harvesting

Harvesting blue agave is labor-intensive and requires skilled jimadores, who manually cut the leaves to get to the piña—the heart of the plant from which tequila is made. As labor costs rise, so do the production costs, and this invariably affects the retail price of tequila.

Increasing Production Costs

Apart from labor, other production costs like energy, water, and transportation have also risen over the years. The production of tequila is a time-consuming process involving fermentation and double distillation, all of which contribute to higher expenses.

Regulatory Factors

Tequila has strict regulatory standards to maintain its quality and geographic indication. It must be made in certain regions of Mexico and meet specific production criteria. These standards, while preserving the integrity of the drink, also add to its cost.

Premium Brands Entering the Market

In recent years, there has been a surge in premium and craft tequila brands entering the market. These high-end brands often use traditional methods of production and aging, leading to a better-quality but more expensive product. The rise of these brands has pushed the average price point higher.

Tariffs and Trade Relations

Global trade relations can also impact the cost of tequila. Tariffs or trade disagreements between Mexico and other countries can result in price hikes. Although this factor is not constant, it is significant enough to contribute to fluctuating costs.

The “Hipster Effect”

As with anything that becomes trendy, tequila prices are also influenced by the “hipster effect”—a phenomenon where a rise in a product’s “cool factor” inflates its market value. Tequila cocktails are becoming a staple on high-end bar menus, further pushing its cost.


Tequila’s climbing price is a result of a combination of factors—from the increase in global demand to the costs associated with its labor-intensive production. While it may not be the best news for consumers, it does indicate that tequila has come a long way from its “shot-shot-shot” reputation to being recognized as a high-quality spirit worthy of savoring. As they say, you get what you pay for, and in the case of tequila, this has never been truer. Cheers!