Vodka may be at the top of the heap as America’s favorite, but agave-based spirits like tequila and mezcal are rising fast. According to the Distilled Spirits Council,vodka has been on top since the 1970s (produced $7.3-billion in revenue in 2021) with tequila and mezcal not far behind (by about $2-billion).
What gives? Celebrities have been on the tequila and mezcal train for some time with George Clooney’s Casamigos tequila (which he sold for $1 billion to Diageo in 2017), Dwayne Johnson’s Teremina tequila, Kendall Jenner’s 818 and Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston’s Dos Hombres Mezcal.
And while tequila and mezcal sales are cranking – especially at casinos – pre-mixed drinks are also seeing big jumps in sales. But the biggest player is still tequila and mezcal. “A lot of people think when they go to an arena or stadium, ‘I’m just going to drink beer’,” says celebrity mixologist and author Tony Abou-Ganim. “Our feeling was, if we put a better margarita in their hands, they’re going to buy margaritas. And that’s proven to be the case.”
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