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Tequila’s star continues to rise as supermarkets sales double

Published:  25 July, 2022

Tequila is stealing a march on other spirits categories, with an impressive 94% growth spurt in two years underpinning the rise of the Mexican spirit in the UK.

Yesterday’s National Tequila Day (24 July) placed further spotlight on the category, which has enjoyed impressive growth in recent months on the back of premiumisation and exploration trends.

According to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), sales of the spirit have almost doubled in value in UK supermarkets in the last two years, putting sales way ahead of the last 12-month period pre-Covid.

In volume terms, sales were up by 83% in the off-trade compared to pre-Covid – and value was even higher. The total for the category reached £17m in the year prior to the first lockdown. In comparison, £33m was recorded in the last 12 months – equating to a 94% increase in sales (Nielsen figures).

“Tequila has shown a steady rate of growth in the last few years, but our latest market report reveals that sales in our supermarkets and shops have seen a real boost compared to pre-pandemic times,” Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA said.

“Consumers have shifted their drinking habits, are experimenting with cocktail making at home and are willing to spend more on premium sipping spirits.”

Tequila has also enjoyed growth in the UK’s pubs and restaurants. The category grew 8% in volume and 11% in value in the year to March, with growth likely down to the move away from its slammer reputation (CGA). A total of 3.4 million bottles were sold in the on and off-trade combined, worth £224 million over 12 months.

This compares to a total of 2.6 million bottles of tequila sold in the UK worth £189m during the 12 months to 21 March 2020, before Covid struck.

Rashidi Hodari, MD of Tequila, global brand house at Beam Suntory added: “We’re continuing to see rapid growth in the tequila category, particularly in the super and ultra-premium segments. As more people reappraise the category, they’re often reaching for high-quality brands to add to their collection. We know consumers are increasingly appreciating tequila’s versatility and searching for the right tequila for different moments in their lives – that could mean sipping it neat to appreciate the craftsmanship of the liquid or responsibly enjoyed in a celebratory cocktail.”

Earlier this year, Harpers reported that Tequila’s growth has been fast-tracked thanks to the growth of celebrity-backed brand launches in the US. Celebrity-endorsed tequila is currently big business in North America. Some of the most recognisable names in Hollywood, such as George Clooney, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine have all put major star power and marketing budgets against luxury launches.

Greater awareness of the category has subsequently trickled across to the UK, where it is carving out a new reputation as a premium sipping drink.