Tequila won’t fix everything but it’s worth a shot

Louis Hadley, Research Manager
October 04, 2021

What do George Clooney, Kendall Jenner, Michael Jordan, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have in common? 

The fact that they still haven’t responded to my dinner party invite. 

Yes. But, also the fact that they have all launched their own brands of tequila. 

So why is this Agave based spirit attracting so many stars? Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that tequila is a hot ticket right now. In the US Since 2002, tequila volumes have grown 209%, an average rate of 6.5% per year.

The pandemic has only catalysed this growth for tequila even further. Diageo saw its tequila sales soar 79% in its 2021 fiscal year, following the category’s strong growth of 25% in an otherwise difficult 2020.

Why is this happening?

Firstly, at home cocktails have taken off. With consumers unable to visit bars and pubs the home has become the premise of choice and consumers are experimenting with new drinks and trying to recreate bar experiences at home.

“I do like tequila more. I drink it before but only in margaritas and now I like to mix it with other things” Female, US, 39

“I am changing it up a little, I have tequila and lime to keep it clean and light but I have not had a craft cocktail in a while so I am remaking a favorite from a local pub” Female, US, 54

Secondly, some consumers, especially those who are more financially well off from the pandemic, are turning to more premium spirits. 

“As I’ve been drinking more, I’ve learned about more brands and I wanted to try better kinds and they tend to be pricier.”  Male, 39, US

“I’ve got Uncle Val’s Restorative Tom Collins Chill tall Collins glass, add ice. I splurged with the high end Uncle Val’s gin, I was feeling like I am worth it, I am tired of getting middle shelf. I wanted a good quality premium gin for a martini or cocktail” US, Female, 56

The growth in premium is great news for tequila, which is experiencing something of a rebrand, shifting from a party shot to a more premium sip and savour experience. 

Hermoso, IWSR research Director for South America, gives credit to the role that Patrón Tequila has played in stimulating the rise of top end tequilas drawing comparisons between Patrón and what Grey Goose has done for vodka in the US - inspiring a wave of higher tier products and raising the profile of the category in the eyes of consumers. 

We’re looking at the broader trend of “home premise” drinking, and where brands can seek more growth opportunities in our upcoming webinar, “Gin-sights: the post-pandemic trends driving the alcohol market”.  We’re covering more than tequila, so join us to find out more.

Meanwhile, there’s plenty of opportunity for brands who can keep on top of consumers’ evolving tastes and it seems that tequila is worth a shot - but actually, maybe it’s not a shot any more, but a long glass with ice. Cheers!