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World’s largest Tequila and mezcal markets

While Tequila has been broadening its high-end appeal over the years, mezcal claimed a significant spot on the global spirits landscape ­– but which are their largest markets?

Here are the world’s largest Tequila and mezcal markets

The eyes of the spirits industry have turned to Tequila over the past few months, analyzing the spirit’s enormous potential since a ban on 100% agave expressions was lifted by the Chinese president.

A spirit once typified by shot-slamming students, Tequila’s pattern of premiumisation also means that it is expanding into as-of-yet untapped markets across the globe, as well as maintaining solid performance in its two key regions.

Meanwhile, mezcal is rapidly gaining in favour among the on-trade and is converting mature drinkers of dark spirits due to its smoky character and sipping ability.

It remains to be seen whether this list will change dramatically in the years to come following new prospects in the east, but, for now, here are the world’s five largest Tequila and mezcal markets based on data by Euromonitor International.

The Spirits Business also recently produced lists of the world’s largest markets for vodka and Cognac.

5. Germany

GermanyThree million litres

The Spirits Business reported last year that Germany was starting to be viewed by producers as a key market for rectifying Europe’s flagging spirits volumes, and the story is no less true for its affect on Tequila and mezcal sales.

With volume sales of three million litres of Tequila and mezcal in 2012, Germany sits in fifth place on Euromonitor’s list of the world’s largest markets for the spirits.

Such growth has been attributed to the country’s emerging preference for premium foreign brands.

4. South Africa

South-Africa3.2 million litres

South Africa’s growing middle class means that it has gained promised land status in the eyes of spirits producers.

Western spirits are gaining in prominence in the country, and it seems that Tequila and mezcal’s patterns of premiumisation mirrors the direction South African consumer preferences are heading.

Sales of the spirits in the country – which reached 3.2 million litres in 2012 – are testament to this.

3. Russia

Russia-vodka3.7 million litres

Although spirits sales are declining in Russia – dropping 14.7% 2007-12 and predicted to dip a further 13.2% 2012-17 – its growing preference for international premium spirits means Tequila and mezcal perform well in the region.

In 2012, 3.7 million litres of the spirits were sold in Russia, making it the world’s third largest market for Tequila.

Euromonitor further predicted that Eastern Europe would become the “spiritual home” of Tequila by 2017, with overall volumes set to rise by a third in the region to 1 million litres.

2. Mexico

Mexico93.1 million liters

Tequila and mezcal’s motherland stays true to its staple spirits, scooping second place on our list.

The sales figure of 93.1 million litres demonstrates the dramatic difference between the spirits’ popularity in their homeland and international markets.

In particular, as a symbol embedded heavily in Mexican culture, Tequila finds an enthusiastic market in the country’s tourism industry.

1. US

US113.7 million litres

By far the largest market for Tequila and mezcal, the US has seen imports grow every year for a decade – and there’s no sign of a hangover yet.

With sales of 113.7 million litres, the US imported significantly higher volumes of Tequila and mezcal than all of the other regions featured on this list put together.

According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (DISCUS), the equivalent of 12 million cases of Tequila flooded in from Mexico – an increase of 72% on 2002, thanks to the growth of high-end and super premium brands.

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