Americans Love Tequila: Super Premium Volumes Have Skyrocketed 706%

 In Blog, Infographic

While Bourbon, America’s Native Spirit may grab more headlines, its Tequila, Mexico’s Native Spirit that has quietly shifted its reputation from one of “Lick it, Sip it, Suck it” shots to one of “sip and savor” as the high end and super premium spirit category has exploded over the last 15 years.

Americans Can’t Get Enough Tequila

Over the past decade, tequila has shifted from the traditional frozen margarita to luxury tequila offerings served in artisan cocktails, neat or on the rocks, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

One of the keys to tequila’s U.S. growth has been distiller’s ability to offer a product for every budget and occasion. By offering both well aged High End and Super Premium products, as well as affordable Value brands, Tequila is accessible to all Americans.

Tequila - 2016 Supplier Revenue has Grown to $2.5 Billion

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The Council reports that since 2002, tequila volumes have grown 121%, an average rate of 5.8% per year. In 2016 alone, 15.9 million 9-lite cases were sold. The high end premium and super premium tequila categories have skyrocketed 292% and 706% in the last 15 years. 

DISCUS - US Tequila Volumes 2003-2016

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“A common trend we’re seeing across the entire spirits sector is strong interest in super premium products,” said Distilled Spirits Council Director of Public Relations Kelley McDonough.

“Tequila fits nicely in this consumer trend with the many sophisticated sipping tequilas in the marketplace today. Tequila is no longer only associated with celebrations such as Cinco de Mayo or enjoyed in pre-batched frozen margaritas at a beach bar,” McDonough added.

In addition to the introduction of luxury tequilas, cocktail culture also has played an important role in elevating the category.

Nick Bennett, head bartender at Porchlight, the first stand-alone cocktail bar by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), explained, “One of the main reasons we are in this golden era of cocktails is because there was a desire to move away from the sugary, syrupy drinks.”

Bennett continued, “That is no longer the case now that there are luxury tequilas with 100 percent agave helping to focus our energies into natural flavors and cleaner spirits, which shine in a simple cocktail.”


U.S. Tequila Volumes by Price Category
(9-Liter Cases, 000)


Year Value Premium High End Premium Super Premium Grand Total
2002 1,623 4,788 417 358 7,186
2003 1,777 5,290 446 497 8,009
2004 1,831 5,662 664 513 8,670
2005 1,858 5,938 739 665 9,200
2006 1,919 6,169 795 1,191 10,074
2007 1,989 6,279 860 1,367 10,495
2008 2,117 6,198 781 1,511 10,607
2009 2,567 6,291 779 1,526 11,163
2010 2,642 6,449 911, 1 560" 11,562
2011 2,827 6,374 1,044 1,737 11,982
2012 2,878 6,436 1,117 1,895 12,326
2013 2,866 7,026 1,161 2,081 13,134
2014 2,914 7,288 1,204 2,389 13,795
2015 2,995 7,715 1,412 2,688 14,810
2016 3,132 8,215 1,637 2,883 15,867
'02-'16 Growth 93.0% 71.6% 292.4% 706.2% 120.8%

U.S. Tequila Supplier Revenues
Gross Revenues Including FET (millions)


Year Value Premium High End Premium Super Premium Grand Total
2003 $143 $606 $73 $140 $962
2004 $145 $674 $110 $139 $1,068
2005 $147 $691 $128 $223 $1,189
2006 $149 $713 $142 $400 $1,403
2007 $157 $754 $160 $479 $1,550
2008 $167 $751 $146 $533 $1,597
2009 $201 $760 $144 $540 $1,645
2010 $204 $760 $167 $580 $1,710
2011 $217 $749 $193 $641 $1,800
2012 $221 $749 $205 $707 $1,882
2013 $221 $818 $213 $779 $2,030
2014 $225 $806 $220 $860 $2,111
2015 $231 $853 $258 $968 $2,311
2016 $241 $909 $297 $1,038 $2,485
03-16 Growth 68.0% 50.0% 308.3% 640.7% 158.2%
Data Source: Distilled Spirits Council, Economic & Strategic Analysis Dept. – Feb 2017

Tequila- It’s Not Just for Cinco De Mayo Infographic

DISCUS - Tequila, It's Not Just for Cinco De Mayo Infographic

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