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The 2020 mezcal numbers are now in

The official mezcal production numbers from 2020 are finally public. As the data is from the CRM, these figures only include certified mezcal. There is still no official tracking of the destilados de agave numbers and this doesn’t include other denominations like Sotol or Raicilla.

So what happened with certified mezcal in 2020?

The top line story is that mezcal production, despite the pandemic, actually grew in 2020, certainly not like in previous years, but 7.9 million liters were produced in 2020 versus 7.2 million in 2019 and 5.1 million in 2018. That’s a 9% rise, pretty incredible for a normal year for any normal spirit. And that was in the midst of a global shut down. Other top line figures of note:

  • 92.7% of the production came from Oaxaca, versus 90.1 in 2019
  • Production in Puebla and Zacatecas dropped a full percentage point from 3.2% to 2.2% and 1.7% to .7%, respectively
  • Tamaulipas recorded the biggest production drop from .2% to .05%
  • The Mezcal Artesanal category represented 86.6% of the market, followed by Mezcal at 12% and Mezcal Ancestral at 2%.
  • 90% of mezcal was produced from the EspadĂ­n variety, followed by Cenizo at 1.7%, Tobalá and Verde (A. Cupreata) at 1.2% each, Cuishe at .9%, Papalote (A. Cupreata) at .8%, both Tepeztate and Azul at .6% each, Barril at .4%, and 42 others not broken down at 2.6%

National versus international

Product bottled for the national market saw a decrease from 2.7 million litros to 2.4 million, while product bottled for the international market remained relatively flat at 4.7 million litros in 2019 to 4.8 million in 2020. The two markets represented a total value of 8,210 million pesos, an increase of 18% over 2019 numbers. There were 313 brands exported in 2020, versus 277 in 2019, a fairly consistent rate of growth over the past 8 years. Mezcal remains a premium priced spirit in the Mexican market, with an average cost of 486 pesos, behind Cognac at 849 pesos and Armagnac at the top at 906 pesos. As a point of comparison, Tequila is priced on average at $273 pesos a bottle.

You can see the full report here.

Susan Coss is the Co-founder of Mezcalistas. She is a long time business, marketing and communications strategist in the sustainable food and beverage worlds. Over the past 15 years, Susan's work has focused on promoting the connection between land, farmers and food and beverage crafters.

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