July 18, 2018

Hold the salt and lime – quality tequila is on the rise

Tequila sales in the UK are on the up as Brits move away from drinking shots with salt and lime and instead enjoy quality tequila in cocktails or as a sipping spirit.

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association’s latest Market Report shows that consumers are taking tequila a lot more seriously with sales continually growing steadily throughout 2016.

Tequila sold in our shops and supermarkets grew seven per cent in volume in the 12 months to 31/12/16 and five per cent in value worth £13m in 2016. 

£4m pounds worth of that Tequila was sold during the 12-week festive period. The volume sold during the 12-week period up to New Year’s Eve was up 12 per cent compared to the same period the year before.

More Tequila is sold in our bars, pubs and restaurants, close to 1.9m bottles in 2016, which was up +3 per cent in volume the 12 months to 31/12/16. This was up six per cent in value compared to the year before and worth £160m.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said“The UK has seen a boom in Tequila sales over the last two years, up £46m to £173m in 2016, an increase of 37 per cent. The trend is moving away from shots and strongly towards high quality, cocktail combinations and increasingly sophisticated sipping products. Additionally there is a growing popularity of craft cocktails being enjoyed in bars and then recreated in our homes.”

According to the country’s top bartenders Tequila is not only a growing trend but is also being consumed in a completely different way.

Tequila is now the must-stock spirit in UK’s most popular bars where it is used as a base for a range of cocktails, as well as being drunk straight as a sipping experience.

The British gin boom has led to people wanting to know more about the provenance and heritage of their spirit drinks.

Tequila is distilled from the blue agave plant primarily found in Mexico.  Tequilas made from 100 per cent agave are being savoured and sipped like a rum or fine Scotch.

Sophie Bratt of London’s iconic OXO Tower Restaurant was recently picked as the UK entrant to find global tequila giant Patron’s international ‘Margarita of the Year’.

Sophie Bratt, Assistant Bar Manager at Harvey Nichols, OXO Tower said: “Agave spirits – especially Tequila – are now being acknowledged and accepted more widely as a crafted product with a plethora of rich flavours. It is these rich natural flavours that the production and ageing of the product impart that allow bartenders to create sophisticated drinks which in the past would have been resigned to whisky and gin bases. Opening up the world of Tequila drinks.

“I believe that attitudes to drinking have changed through knowledge – we drink to enjoy, taste and savour excellence. When guests tell me they don’t like tequila, it’s almost like a mission as I believe there is a Tequila/Tequila drink for everyone- don’t believe me I can be found at OXO Tower Bar!”