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Beware, world: We're about to face a massive tequila shortage

Anna Ben Yehuda

Listen up, tequila drinkers: You might want to start indulging in a different liquor. The New York Post reports that, given a growing demand for the spirit across the world, farmers are dealing with a shortage of agave—the plant used to make tequila.

Specifically, according to the National Tequila Industry Chambers (CNIT) and the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT), the 17.7 million blue agave plants that were planted in Mexico back in 2011 for use this year are not enough to satisfy the demand of 140 registered companies (42 million plants are needed to supply all those companies). In the United States alone, exports of pure tequila "jumped by 198 percent over the past decade, while cheaper blended tequila exports rose by just 11 percent," reports the New York Post

The shortage of the plant has, of course, affected the price of it as well. According to the New York Post, "The price of Agave tequilana, the blue-tinged, spikey-leaved succulent used to make the alcoholic drink, has risen six-fold in the past two years, squeezing smaller distillers' margins and leading to concerns that shortages could hit even the larger players."

The price hike is steep: Back in 2016, an agave plant sold for 3.85 pesos per kilo. Today, each kilo costs 22 pesos.

To deal with the shortage and meet the increased demand of pure tequila, farmers have begun using immature plants that produce less tequila—which means that more plants need to be pulled from an already limited supply, causing a never ending cycle. 

In even more bad news: The situation is not expected to get better until at least 2021. 

What does that mean in practical terms, when applied to your drinking habits? You either need to stop consuming so much tequila (probably not going to happen) or start developing a palate for gin and whiskey—both delicious spirits, we promise!

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