Could China be getting a taste for tequila?

TequilaThink tequila, and you probably don’t think China. But that could be set to change.

According to BBC Latin America, Mexico’s agriculture ministry has revealed that drinks companies in the country have just made their first shipment of finest quality tequila to China.

Yes, substandard tequila doesn’t quite cut the mustard for the discerning tastes of this new – and potentially incredibly lucrative – market. It’s 100% blue agave tequila that they wanted – and lots of it. Over 70,000 bottles of the stuff have been shipped China-wards, due to arrive at their destination in about a month’s time.

The spirit had previously been banned in China, due to concerns over its particularly high methanol content. But the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, had a change of heart after visiting Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico in June (one can only surmise what it might have been that persuaded him), and lifted the ban. Hoorah and glasses raised all round. Hic.

A Margarita cocktail made with tequila

And tequila is not the only thing Mexico has agreed to supply China with.  It has already agreed to start exporting pork to China, with plans afoot to add fresh produce to the list, including avocadoes, lemons, asparagus and spring onions. A whole meal of ingredients to soak up all that booze.

But booze might be where the real big money is. Mexican tequila producers are now hoping China will become its second largest market after the USA, with projected sales of a colossal 10 million litres over the next five years.

Crazy, crazy world. The Chinese drinking tequila – whatever next? Americans drinking tea?!

If the Chinese start drinking as much tequila as Mexico hopes, will that familiar, well-worn expression have to change? You know the one about tea and China.

I have to say, “Not for all the tequila in China” does have a certain je ne sais quoi…

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