Crop failure drives up tequila prices

The agave crops have failed. That might not mean anything to many people. But it should if you're a tequila lover.

Agave is the Mexican plant tequila is made from. The crop failure means there's a worldwide shortage of the drink and, therefore, higher prices.

As a result, local fiestas might be a bit tamer than usual since the margueritas probably won't flow quite as freely as in past years.

The price of a bottle of tequila has gone up 50% to 60% at the retail level. So instead of paying about $20 for a 750 ml bottle, Manitobans will be paying at least $30.

Nick Diacos, one of the owners of Carlos and Murphy's, a Mexican-style restaurant and bar, sells hundreds of tequila-based drinks every day. He says it's the restaurant that will be stomaching the costs.

"We haven't raised our price of drinks because of it but we cringe every time someone orders a shot of tequila, I'll tell you that," Diacos says.

Terry Lori, the director of purchasing for the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission, says licensees and customers will have to get used to paying more for their tequila.

"The agave plant takes between eight to 12 years to come into full production. So my guess is this is probably going to be a long-term issue," Lori says.

About 7,000 cases of tequila are sold in Manitoba each year.