Mexican tequila threatened: Australia produces agave drinks and wants to export to the United States

Australia will export agave drink to the United States in late 2021.

Photo: Mikhail Nilov / Pexels

The United States is the main consumer market for tequila in the worldAccording to figures from the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT), from January to October 2021, Mexico sent 211 million liters of the traditional distillate to its northern neighbor.

Even Americans drink more tequila than Mexicans themselves, that in the same period consumed 71 million liters.

With all this, 14,500 kilometers from Mexican territory, Top Shelf has a large-scale agave farm in Australia, with which you want to conquer the US market.

Top Shelf International Holdings is a Melbourne-based spirits company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. It markets vodka and whiskey in the national market and its plans are to internationalize with agave drinks, one of the fastest growing spirits in the world.

It cannot be called Tequila, because of the denomination of origin of the drink produced in Jalisco, Mexico. But the Top Shelf farm is a long-term bet that grows agave.

Drew Fairchild, CEO of Top Shelf, is targeting a $ 77.7 million annual turnover from the agave drink by the time hit stores abroad, such as Los Angeles, where they intend to arrive at the end of this year.

“On the agave side, we would like to launch it not only in Australia, but also in the United States from the beginning,” Fairchild said. Top Shelf hopes to create drinks with a uniquely Australian flavor, influenced by the characteristics of the country’s soil.

China is another potential market for Australia, in fact became the top wine exporter for the world’s second-largest economy in 2019, selling 1.2 million products there that year. But prohibitive tariffs shut down trade last November.

Australia has other agave plantations in Queensland and Western Australia, but Top Shelf’s farm is by far the largest.

According to information from IWRS, the most trusted analyst on trends in alcoholic beverages, the agave boom does not show signs of slowing down yet, as Agave liquor sales are projected to grow 4.2 percent annually through 2024 in 19 key markets, and premium sales are expected to increase 8.8 percent, reaching a value of nearly $ 9 billion.

With information from Bloomberg and Forbes

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