What a Difference a Decade Makes. By Maia Merrill
Ten years ago the average consumer’s tequila vocabulary consisted of Gold and 1800, salt or no salt. Margaritas came on the rocks or frozen and flavor choices were plain, strawberry and the occasional blue (somehow “blue” has come to signify a flavor). Times have certainly changed.
Largely through exposure to new luxury tequilas, innovative marketing programs and the overall popularity of spirits, consumers have developed discerning palates. Today, people bandy terms about like blanco, reposado and anejo. They look for 1OO% blue agave distinctions on labels and sip tequilas from martini glasses or swirl them in snifters. And we can't seem to get enough of that classic perennial favorite: the margarita. What's more, tequila is one of the fastest growing of all distilled spirits, particularly in the super-premium arena. As popular as it is though, the category is far from being on easy street. Many consumers are still haunted by bad memories of tequila from their days in college. In some ways, tequila reminds me of that old children's rhyme about the little girl with the little curl in the middle of her forehead: when it's good, it's very, very good but when it's bad, it's awful. It is a hard memory to forget but the industry is working hard at changing consumer's attitudes by marketing tequila as a smooth, refined and sophisticated spirit. From a focused effort on product education to an end of the Gold Standard, here's a look at today's tequila trends.