The Mexican Multimillion Dollar Business
Getting a bottle of tequila in Germany is not a problem, the country ranks third in the top 10 of nations that buy the most amount of tequila from Mexico, according to Ramon Gonzalez Figueroa, president of the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT).
The ratio is high, seven out of every 10 liters of tequila produced in Mexico will be abroad. In the first half of 2014, Mexican tequila reached exports of 568.8 million dollars and is expected to close the year with a figure close to 750 million dollars.
Beverages such as beer, tequila and mezcal are part of Mexico’s leadership in exports but according to the Ministry of Agriculture in recent years fruits and vegetables have gained ground in Mexico´s sales abroad. Products such as papaya, avocado, watermelon, tomato, cucumber and lemon are also in the select list of products.
From Jalisco to the world
With almost 20 years as a beverage with Designation of Origin, like, champagne or brandy, tequila is a solid and consolidated industry, both within Mexico and abroad.
Today almost 70% of the total production is exported to over 100 countries, of which only 47 accept and recognize the Denomination of Origin of Tequila. Outside of Mexico, the largest consumer of tequila is the United States, which has operations that collect 79% of the exported beverage, approximately 133 million liters (35,185,185.19 gallons).
Following is Europe, where countries like Spain, Germany, France, Russia, England, Ireland and Scotland are also consumers of the spirit.
Japan, South Africa, Panama and Brazil complete the list of countries that imported tequila this year; out of all the before mentioned only Brazil does not recognize Mexican Tequila´s Designation of Origin. The Tequila Regulatory Committee (CRT) is at work trying to obtain such recognition and making great efforts in order to double the current consumption.
The strong bet for the next five years is China, currently they only import about 70,000 bottles, taking a distant place in the list of the largest consumers, however, the goal to achieve in the medium term, is to accommodate about 10 million liters (2,264,502 gallons) which would put China in second place of consumption behind the United States.
According to the National Chamber of the Tequila Industry, the expectation is realistic and achievable due to the fact that in the first half of this year, the volume of 100% Agave tequila exported to China doubled and reached sales of over $ 2.7 million USD. This also includes negotiations to achieve the recognition of Designation of Origin.
According chairman of the Regulatory Committee of Tequila, Ramón González Figueroa producers are prepared to face this increase, with 290 million liters in inventory available to ship, marketed for both domestically and internationally, apart from 100,000 hectares (247, 105 acres) with some 300 million blue agave plants of various ages.
A very Mexican blond.
This 2014, Mexico is the leading exporter of beer worldwide, being the number one product in the table of exported goods in the country, with sales of 2,211 million dollars in 2013 and with a growth of 4.2%, well above Holland, the second largest producer of beer, which achieved a growth of 1.7%.
This position responded to the acquisition of the two largest brewers in the country. In 2010, Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma (Producing house of XX Lager, Superior, Sol amongst others) was acquired by the Dutch Heineken.
In 2013 Grupo Modelo -home of the popular brand Corona- was acquired by the Belgian company InBev also owner-partner of Saint Louis Missouri based Anheuser-Busch.
In the first decade of the millennium, Mexican beer production grew at an average annual rate of 2.5% and according to estimates by Heineken; in 2020 the annual growth rate should increase 2.6% reaching 82 million hectoliters.
Although Mexico is only the sixth largest producer globally (with China leading, then United States, Brazil, Russia and Germany) today half the beer consumed in the world comes from Mexico, where Corona Extra, is the current most successful brand, exported to 180 countries worldwide.
China’s Snow beer sells an average of 50.8 million barrels a year, United States brands Bud-Light and Budweiser have an average of 45 and 38 million barrels per year respectively and Corona beer, with multimillion dollar exports, is the fourth brand in the list of the most sold beers in the world, with an average of 30.4 million barrels a year but also, Mexico exported bottled beer to Europe for a total of 26.19 million euros just in the first quarter of 2014, against 21.13 million euros obtained in the same period of 2013.
A drink for the connoisseurs’
Although exports have grown exorbitantly in recent years with figures around 127% between 2009 and 2012 and in the first half of 2014, 47.5%, with approximately 720,500 liters (against 170.8 million liters of tequila) mezcal is a rather unknown beverage for many.
Even though, this drink has Designation of Origin and in the last five years there has been many exclusive “gourmet” brands, its future as an export product is bound by the disorganization that still prevails in its supply chain, because it remains a product almost exclusively artisanally crafted.
Oaxaca generates 94% of the total production of mezcal, but there are also other states that possess the Designation of Origin such as Guerrero, San Luis Potosi, Durango, Tamaulipas and Guanajuato, this is an industry that supports 26,000 families, according to the Regulatory Council of Mezcal Quality (COMERCAM).
Currently, mezcal is mainly exported to the United States, Canada, Germany, Chile, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Japan, Britain, Australia and New Zealand amongst others, thanks to more than 800 small artesian mezcal producers, seeking to take their product overseas.
By José Urioste