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Local restaurants face tequila shortage amid supply chain crisis

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: May. 5, 2022 at 7:00 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - This Cinco de Mayo, tequila is getting harder to find and prices are rising.

Tequila is found in the majority of drinks here at local Mexican restaurants here in Tucson.

When it comes to shortages impacted by the supply chain, tequila is a little different. Experts say there were shortages before the pandemic and now things like the supply chain crisis and worker shortages are making it worse.

“All of our margaritas have tequila, we have tequila shots, we have palomas. I want to say like 90% of our drinks have tequila and if it’s not vodka, so it impacts us greatly,” Si Charro marketing manager Ami Fong said.

El Charro is celebrating 100 years of business in 2022. They’re one of many businesses feeling the impact of shortages, but now that the attention is turning to a tequila shortage, they say they’ve had to substitute some drinks because of the limited stock.

Fong says, “As far as the tequila shortage, I know and I have seen where we’ve been short on a couple of our signature tequilas that we carry.”

Si Charro CEO, Ray Flores, says he’s seen tequila shortages over the years, but he isn’t worried yet. He believes the shortage will primarily impact mass-produced tequila.

“It’s tequila farming, you know, farmers are going to need to turn their crops more. They may have shortages. They may move their workers over to other crops that are more profitable and they may want to hold onto what they produce. There’s also of course all the government issues that interplay with bringing product back and forth across the border,” he said.

What they’re seeing, supply chain expert said, is a little residual from the normal ebb and flow of the agave crop.

“I think that’s combined with the labor shortages we’re seeing that is really sort of exasperating it,” supply chain expert, Ken Gyure says.

There have been tequila shortages before, but the supply is being more impacted now than it has in the past. This is also driving up the cost about 15%.

“We’re going to see a lot of the distributors try and ration and make sure there is enough to go around,” he said.

Gyure says he expects to start seeing thinner stock at liquor stores as the demand continues to climb.

For those who are purchasing tequila whether it’s for your business or for yourself, his advice is to only buy what you need. Keep an eye on the stock, but don’t overbuy and hoard.

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