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Top 10 biggest Tequila brands

From celebrity-backed brands to historic producers, these are the 10 Tequila companies that are calling the shots on the global market.

The US remains the biggest market for the Mexican spirit, with demand being particularly high in California. The reopening of on-trade channels in 2021, as well as Tequila being a highly fashionable spirit at the moment, meant that most brands enjoyed year-on-year growth against 2020’s sales, and compared to pre-pandemic levels too.

The following data are from our sister title, The Spirits Business‘ 2022 Tequila Brand Champions. For a fuller view of the figures, click here. It records the number of nine-litre cases sold through 2021.

1) Jose Cuervo – 7.9 million

Slamming the competition by some margin, Jose Cuervo’s sales grew by 8% from 2020 to 2021. To put the 7.9 million cases into perspective, that is equal to approximately 1,615,909,090 44 millilitre Tequila shots. The Becle-owned brand is also responsible for one of the most expensive Tequilas ever, retailing for around US$2,000. However, its best-selling bottles aren’t quite so costly, selling for around US$30-40.

2) Patrón – 3.2m

Though ‘Patrón’ stands for ‘boss’, the Bacardi-owned brand will have to settle for second in this list. The brand recently partnered with luxury department store Fortnum & Mason on a (highly) limited-edition run of its Barrel Select Añejo. For those still mourning the discontinuation of Patrón XO Cafe, budget alternatives are available.

3) Don Julio – 2.7m

With sales growing by more than 50% from 2020 to 2021, Don Julio has certainly given owners Diageo a reason to raise a glass. Alongside Casamigos, Don Julio forms an integral part of the company’s spirits strategy for the rest of the decade, with sales of the latter up seven-fold since 2014

4) Casamigos – 2.2m

Image credit: Instagram user casamigos

George Clooney co-founded Casamigos in 2014, before selling it to Diageo in 2017, but the company still has its Blockbuster appeal. Indeed, earlier this year it was named the world’s fastest-growing spirits brand. For those in London who want a taste of Mexico via Hollywood (and Cuba), the brand is set to open a roof terrace at Embargo Republica in Chelsea.

5) 1800 Tequila – 2.05m

Image credit: Instagram user 1800tequila

Now owned by Becle, 1800 Tequila has been distilling for 222 years as of this year, and they offer the traditional blanco, reposado and añejo forms of Tequila that one would expect from such an historic producer. But, the company has also branched out into the more modern ready-to-serve category with its fruit-flavoured Margaritas. While mango and jalapeño with lime might not be classic flavourings for the cocktail, there is a market for them, particularly among younger consumers.

6) Hornitos – 1.9m

Reporting a 21.4% sales boost from 2020 t0 2021, Beam Suntory’s Hornitos has also begun to dabble in the increasingly lucrative ready-to-drink market. Seltzers aside, premium spirits from Hornitos (and other labels) have contributed to Beam Suntory’s growth in recent years.

7) El Jimador – 1.4m

Image credit: Instagram user eljimadornz

Named after the harvesters who collect the agave by hand (and with another motif of one on the bottle), El Jimador is part of the Brown-Forman portfolio. The 1.4m nine-litre cases sold in 2020 is the same level as 2019 and 2018, and a moderate 13.4% increase on 2020’s figure.

8) Olmeca – 1.1m

Sales of Olmeca (including Altos) rose by a fifth year-on-year – and in recent results from Pernod Ricard it appears that it was one of the strategic local brands that rose by 18% across FY22. Despite the strength of these results, Olmeca recently changed its bottle design in an effort to attract Generation Z and Millennial consumers.

9) Espolòn – 1.1m

Image credit: Instagram user espolontequila

Campari Group’s Espolòn saw an impressive 23.3% year-on-year increase. The Tequila has been a driving force behind Campari Group’s strong performance in the US. Perhaps some of the brand’s success in the cutthroat world of spirits sales has been because (fictional) antihero Deadpool, as played by Ryan Reynolds, was named as ‘creative director’ of the company in 2018.

10) Sauza – 1.0m

Image credit: Instagram user sauzatequila

Sauza’s sales actually dipped by -12.3% from the 2020 figure, the only brand in the top 10 to see this. Indeed, the 2021 result was about half that of pre-pandemic years, suggesting that the brand has struggled to weather the closure of the on-trade in 2020, and subsequent years. Its sales have fallen from third place in the rankings in 2019 to 10th in 2021 – in that time Hornitos has leapfrogged it to become Beam Suntory’s bestselling Tequila brand.

If you want some celebrity glamour mixed in with your Margarita, click here to discover 10 Tequila brands owned by famous folk.

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