By DREW COHEN
Alcohol has been a very important part of the beverage world for many years. The earliest alcoholic beverages have been traced back to China around 7000 B.C. and was made from fermented grain. Today, there are many different types of alcohol from many different regions of the world.
Tequila was first produced in the city of Tequila, Mexico in the 16th century. When Spanish conquistadors ran out of their favorite brandy drink, they resorted to the blue agave plant. They roasted the “Pina” (the bottom core of the plant) and then fermented it. After the three to 12-month distillation process, the tequila was finally ready to drink.
Tequila soon became very popular and was the first alcoholic drink to be produced in North America. Around the turn of the 17th century, tequila began to be exported to the United States, South America, and Europe and is still an extremely popular choice among drinkers to this day.
Fermented blue agave can be made in different regions of the world where blue agave thrives; however, “tequila” can only be called tequila if it’s from Jalisco, a Mexican state. The multi-billion-dollar tequila industry has thrived since the turn of the 19th century and is one of the worlds most consumed alcohol. For tequila lovers, unfortunately, there is a higher demand and production is decreasing, which is causing a shortage.
The blue agave plant takes around seven years to fully mature, so planning for this year’s harvest began back in 2011. There are only 18 million blue agave plants that were planted in 2011 and are now ready for the tequila making process; however, the estimated demand for this year shot up to around 42 million blue agave plants.
According to Reuters, tequila prices have shot up six-fold over the past two years. Solving the problem wont be quick either. The next time tequila prices are projected to return to normal is 2025, which is when the next planted blue agaves will be ready.