NEW YORK — Here’s a shot of bad news.
We could be on the verge of a global tequila shortage, and it seems New Yorkers are partially to blame.
“Especially in the last two years, tequila and mezcal became major,” Sanatorium bar owner Albert Trummer said.
“Tequila sunrise, tequila drink straight or near,” said tequila enthusiast Daniel Hostetler.
Big cities like New York, London and Tokyo are being blamed, because apparently people are drinking so much of the gold, silver and resposado liquor it’s causing a shortage of agave – the plant from which tequila is made.
“There wasn’t enough supply for demand,” tequila importer Jason Perez said. “You have to grow it for seven years in order to come up with good tequila.”
“They take the leaves, cut it, press it, and then after that they cook it. Then the juices that come from there become tequila,” said fellow importer Miguel Aranda.
Aranda says growers are being forced to use young, immature agave plants that aren’t fully grown. Not only do they produce less tequila, the early harvesting means the shortage will only worsen as time goes by and prices could spike.
“It will go tremendously high up in price,” Trummer said. “For a good margarita, it can go up to $50, $60 with any kind of shortage.”
But that doesn’t mean everyone will be saying, ‘hold the salt.’
“Listen, alcohol’s so expensive in New York anyways, how much more can it really be?” one man said.
Some bartenders believe New Yorkers are making tequila their drink of choice because they say it’s the only alcohol that’s not a depressant and they think it’s healthier, WCBS-TV’s Natalie Duddridge reported.
“I’ve actually heard from even fitness instructors that tequila is the cleanest drink you could actually have not affecting your body,” Café Medi manager Dzenis Medunjanin said.
So while tequila is super popular right now, the shortage may cause drinkers to take a shot at another beverage.
Farmers say in the last few years they have been planting millions of agave plants, and by 2024 tequila will be back in full supply.