Americans are set to spend more money on Tequila and mezcal than they will on American whiskey in 2022, according to new data from the IWSR. The British data and analytics firm estimates $13.3 billion in combined agave spirit sales versus $12.3 billion for whiskey.
Analysts at the IWSR have additionally estimated that the agave category will also supplant vodka, previously America’s best-selling spirits category with estimated $12.5 billion for 2022, making it the US’s most-purchased spirit category. It seems that the trend for Tequila and mezcal will continue to see some headroom for some time yet, potentially cannibalizing other spirits categories.
“Multiple factors are driving growth for agave spirits, but the main trends impacting the category include increasing household penetration through celebrities, extending consumption occasions through ready-to-drink products, as well as new and exciting flavored products entering the market,” explained IWSR research director Adam Rogers.
Tequila consumption grew by more than 30% between 2015 and 2020, with the category’s premium brands up by over 60%. While bourbon grew by 10% during that time, it was simply not enough to keep up with the burgeoning agave sector.
Tequila’s ultra-premium sub-category has the highest rates of forecasted expansion, with a predicted CAGR in volume and value of over 14% from 2019 to 2024.
Despite Tequila success, it is mezcal that is driving the fastest growth. It saw 53% growth in value in 2021 over 2020, nearly double that of Tequila, which grew 27%.
A host of headline-grabbing celebrity launches have only served to boost awareness of Tequila and mezcal further. Famous names from actor and ex-wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (Teremana Tequila) to actress/social media star Kendall Jenner (818 Tequila) are aiming to emulate the success of Casamigos, the high-end Tequila brand co-founded by George Clooney and sold to Diageo for up to US$1bn in 2017.