Añejo Alarm: Why Aged Tequilas Are Disappearing

Followers of the aged tequilas, take notice. You possibly can be going through a scarcity of your favourite sippers, larger costs, or each, as a number of sources report that they don’t have any extra añejo tequila to promote into {the marketplace}.

“Producers have been reluctant to put down spirit with these excessive costs (for agave), considering the value would drop, nevertheless it hasn’t and reserves are drying up,” says Jake Lustig, proprietor of the ArteNOM Selección tequila model.

The value of the uncooked materials to make tequila has spiked in recent times, reaching a excessive of 32 pesos a kilo, in comparison with slightly below 4 pesos per kilo in 2016.

Agave costs have all the time gone by way of a cycle of increase and bust pricing, since growers usually abandon the crop when they’re getting nearly nothing for it, solely to replant after they see the costs climb. However the newest worth spike has been unusually extended. We’ve recorded prices above 25 pesos a kilo since 2017.

Simply to offer you an thought of the capital required to make tequila, at 30 pesos a kilo one massive oven load alone prices round $40,000 USD (for non-organic agaves.)

Because of this tequila producers have confronted a dilemma for a while. Ought to they wait one 12 months or extra (the time required to name a tequila “añejo”) as their product rests in barrels earlier than they get a return on their funding, or just concentrate on making blanco tequila, or a evenly aged reposado, as a substitute?

Jimador in Agave Field

Excessive Agave Costs Meet Excessive Demand

Whereas pricing pressures have put a squeeze on manufacturing, there’s one other issue affecting añejo provide—hovering demand amid the pandemic. Tequila gross sales grew over 54% by income and 38% by quantity in 2020, outperforming all different spirit classes.

The surge in demand has left additional añejo (XA) reserves, which require at the least three years of growing older, tremendously depleted. And now, añejos are beginning to get more durable to return by.

“We observed widespread añejos and additional añejos, like Don Julio 1942, Patrón Additional Añejo, and Clase Azul Añejo, have been ceaselessly promoting out for lengthy stretches of time since final 12 months,” stated Roman Romaya of Old Town Tequila in San Diego, CA.

“Now we’re promoting out of any añejo within the $100 to $300 vary.” he says.

This can be as a result of many purchasers nonetheless aren’t capable of go to bars, but additionally notice that they will get a whole bottle for what they’d’ve spent throughout an evening out.

“They’re going high shelf, at house,” Romaya says.

Now, producers say that the añejo hunt is on.

“Each week I get calls from manufacturers and distilleries trying to purchase añejo tequila from me in bulk, however I solely have sufficient for my manufacturers,” says Jaime Villalobos Sauza, Grasp Distiller of Suave Tequila. “Proper now, it’s tough to search out.”

Suave Tequila Barrel Room

After all, extra demand and fewer provide is leading to larger costs. In keeping with Romaya, they’re seeing throughout the board worth hikes on tequila, and the state of affairs isn’t any higher in Mexico.

“There isn’t any extra añejo,” says Emilio Ferreira Ruiz, proprietor of the Tequilas El Buho retailer in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco. “And costs are up, even for blancos—though not as a lot—since agave costs stay excessive,” he says.

A Clear Competitor

Lastly, there appears to be one other driver within the añejo scarcity: cristalinos. Sometimes, these are añejo or additional añejo tequilas which were filtered to take away the colour added by the barrels throughout growing older, leading to a transparent or practically clear spirit that’s marketed as “smoother” or premium.

Cristalinos have been one of many quickest rising tequila segments in Mexico, and they’re now taking off in the USA. Some producers have used their aged inventory to fulfill the demand, leaving them with much less non-filtered añejo.

We requested Ferreira Ruiz whether or not the cristalino development was depleting anejo reserves. “Definitely,” he says.

And, there’s one other twist — a surge of recent cristalino tequilas made with reposado tequila, which may be aged as little as two months.

“This is because of an absence of añejo,” Ferreira Ruiz says.

We’ve famous 14 reposado cristalinos in our database — many added just lately — with extra presumably on the way in which.

Añejo Tequila in a Glass

What’s An Añejo Lover To Do?

Even if you happen to can’t discover your favourite añejos proper now, the excellent news is there are lots of manufacturers in the marketplace and never all are having provide points. Producers which have their very own barrel applications and reserves (equivalent to Tequila Fortaleza, Don Fulano, Casa Noble, and Tapatío) are reporting enterprise as normal.

“For future añejos and additional añejos, for all of our manufacturers, we began filling extra barrels than initially deliberate forward of time,” says Carlos Camarena, Grasp Distiller for Tapatío, Tequila Ocho, and El Tesoro de Don Felipe. This was in response to the fast-growing demand for añejo and additional añejo merchandise.

So, take this chance to strive some aged tequilas you’ve by no means had earlier than, or want to revisit. It most likely gained’t be lengthy till extra aged sippers reappear on the cabinets, simply at a better worth.

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