Oh Shot | A Tequila Shortage May Be Coming

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, four, five tequila, six tequila, seven tequila… no more? In an unfortunate turn of events, it looks like we’ll be headed towards a tequila shortage soon.

How is this possible? It comes down to a shortage in the kind of plant needed to make tequila. You may already know that the agave plant is a necessity when it comes to creating the adult beverage, but you might not know that the plant has other uses as well. One popular use in particular is the production of mezcal, a type of spirit. On top of this, it has also become a fairly common sweetener alternative utilized by people who are especially health conscious and looking to get some more flavor without ruining the health value of what they consume.

What all this means is that with the agave plant being more popular than ever before, farmers are having a really tough time trying to keep up with the sharply heightened demand for the plant. Not helping matters is that due to favoring specific climates and soil types, the agave plant is mostly only grown in Mexico, which cuts down on the potential production of the plant significantly. Also not helping matters is that some agave crops — more than usual — have apparently been stolen, for which the thieves should be ashamed.

All of this paints a pretty grim picture for tequila drinkers. Sure, that might be something of an overdramatic statement considering that it’s just one drink out of many, but that one drink is darn good and it sucks that we might not have as much available in the coming years as we usually do. What are we to do about such an unfortunate deficit?

Unfortunately, this question isn’t so easily answered.  Due to the tequila name officially being legally tied to Mexican production along with increased thefts of the plant it’s made from, increased demand, and a decreased number of agave farmers, we’re looking at a probable bummer for tequila drinkers everywhere.  Not all hope is lost though- some farmers in California are studying ways to grow agave north of the border in order to create their own tequila alternative.  It wouldn’t bear the name or the exact taste of the drink, but it would be helpful in softening the blow of the agave deficit.  It’s a small step, but it’s still worth celebrating in these troubled times.