Years ago, you probably only knew that the agave plant is essential to making tequila. Today, you’re likely familiar with the fact that the precious plant is also used to produce mezcal and has even become a popular sweetener substitute among health circles. All that popularity has led to a booming market for agave—one farmers in Mexico can’t keep up with.
Reuters reported this week that there’s a current shortage of agave, causing prices to increase dramatically (we’re talking six times the price) over the past few years. Producers in Mexico, who normally harvest plants that are seven or eight years old, are being forced to farm plants at a much younger age due to demand. But since these four-year-old plants are smaller, yields are still lower.
The shortage will likely worsen in 2018 and continue into 2021.
So should you panic? No, we’ve faced shortages like this before in the booze world, but expect to pay a little bit more for that precious bottle of your favorite tequila.