Mexico City, July 23, 2020— July 24th is National Tequila Day in the United States, marking the day the country celebrates the popular Mexico-produced distilled spirit. Reports indicate that during the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of tequila increased by 55%; in fact, tequila was the distilled spirit of choice by the American consumer during this time. In order to meet this spike in demand, Dachser Mexico ensured a smooth and agile supply chain for tequila producers.
“While the US is the number one tequila export market, there has also been an increasing demand in Europe and Australia in recent time,’” said Edgardo Hamon, Managing Director, Dachser Mexico. “With the strict rules and regulations involved with the exports of spirits, our tequila customers turned to the Dachser Mexico team to ensure they stayed compliant while promptly responding to the spike in demand – all while assuring the product arrived safely with its integrity intact.”
Dachser Mexico understands that exporting tequila out of Mexico must adhere to strict rules surrounding compliance. “Issues such as sanitary requirements as well as security and border control restrictions can have a significant impact on delivery times. Our team of experts ensured that these issues would not interfere with our customer meeting its tight timeline,” said Mr. Hamon.
The recent spike in sales follows strong consistent growth in demand for the spirit, primarily driven by the US consumer’s appetite for premium, 100% agave tequila and the increasing interest in mixology. As the image of the spirit morphs from low quality and inexpensive to high-end and sophisticated, consumers are willing to pay a premium, spending upward of $50USD per bottle and expecting quality taste in return.
100% Agave Tequila Production Process: Eight years of flavor development
According to José Aceves, CEO of Casa Aceves Spirits, a premium tequila developer and customer of Dachser, every detail of the production process is critical--from properly nurturing the blue agave plants to the expert handling involved in transporting the tequila bottles to its final destinations worldwide. The process is as follows:
• Ensure blue agave plant maturity: Premium tequilas must wait for 6-8 years for a blue agave plant, known as agave tequilana weber blue variety, to mature to ensure it has reached its maximum sugar production level. Lower quality tequilas may choose to wait fewer years and supplement the taste with additives and sugar.
• Cook the natural agave plant sugars in brick ceramic oven: The agave sugars of the plant, called agavinas, must be baked to convert to simpler sugars for fermentation purposes. The quickest cooking process is in a stainless steel oven, but allowing the slower process of the brick ceramic oven results in more flavor and sweetness.
• Utilize new “pressing” techniques for sugar extraction process: After baking, many volatiles, mainly caramel compounds, are produced, most of which may have a significant impact on the overall flavor of tequila. The sugar extraction process separates the sugar from the fiber. Historically, a stone wheel was used to conduct the extraction, but it provided a very specific taste. Offering a more neutral taste is the “pressing” method, which involves adding water and pressing the fiber into one container and the sugar into another container.
• Allow proper time for fermentation process: Following the extraction process, sugars must be converted into alcohol through fermentation. Water and the extracted sugar are combined and left to rest in wood or stainless steel containers for at least 3-5 days to be fermented and ultimately convert into alcohol. The longer and natural the fermentation process, the more full-bodied the tequila. Lower end tequilas may add nitrogen to speed up the fermentation process.
• Work with a Master Distiller during distillation process: The distillation process involves separating the alcohol from water through a boiling process that also removes unwanted toxic substances. At this stage, the final alcohol proof is 110. Master Distillers use sniffing and smelling to ensure unwanted elements are removed while maintaining the aromas developed throughout the course of the entire process in an effort to create the final character for the tequila.
• Align with a transportation partner with expertise in distilled spirits: After a long and laborious production process, the tequila must make its way to the consumer in a timely fashion, so working with a knowledgeable logistics partner that understands the nuanced challenges associated with the international transport of distilled spirits is critical.
Variety of flavors, aromas, tastes expands consumer base
Agave plants are not only grown in the traditional town of Tequila, known as the lowlands, but also grow in other areas of the Jalisco region, known as the highlands “Los Altos de Jalisco,” where they produce sweeter, more citrusy juice than their sister agave plants throughout the tequila valley region. Not all tequila is aged in barrels. Blanco varieties require no time in a barrel and are bottled immediately after distillation. Reposados require two months of aging in the barrel, while anejo requires one year and extra anejo requires three years in the barrel.
“Offering a variety of tastes, aromas and complexities has helped expand the appeal of the spirit throughout the world,” said Mr. Aceves. “And we are confident that working with Dachser Mexico will ensure safe passage of our products as we expand our global footprint.”