Americans are drinking more and better-quality tequila, and not only in margaritas on Cinco de Mayo.
Tequila sales have been growing at an average rate of 5.6 percent a year since 2002, according to February figures from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. In 2014 alone, 13.8 million nine-liter cases were sold.
The U.S. represents tequila’s largest market, with about 52 percent of global sales. America’s renewed thirst for mixed cocktails has been a boon for spirits overall, but especially for tequila. Meanwhile, sales in Mexico have remained flat largely because the market there is mature, with little room for growth.
The Distilled Spirits Council said that one of the keys to tequila’s U.S. growth has been distillers’ ability to offer a product for every budget and occasion, but the fastest growth has been in high-end and super-premium brands.
“High-end brands have grown 189 percent in volume since 2002,” it noted. “Virtually unknown in 2002, super-premium tequila volumes have skyrocketed 568 percent and today account for 2.4 million 9-liter cases.”
Celebrity endorsements may have also raised the status of tequila. George Clooney, Sean Combs and Justin Timberlake have all promoted tequila brands.
In addition, distillers are trying to boost the popularity of high-end tequilas further by offering tastings and tours — at least one of which is aimed at the super-wealthy.
Tequila Avion, an ultra-premium tequila maker, is offering a $500,000, three-day trip for 10 to Jalisco, Mexico, to taste its spirits and partake of luxury accommodations, butler service and a private dinner among other amenities.
If that seems a tad pricey, Experience Tequila in Portland, Ore., offers four-day tours to Mexico for just under $1,500, and you can find tequila-tasting classes in many cities for about $100.
The federal budget deficit rose by 16 percent in the first nine months of the 2018 fiscal year, which began last October. The shortfall came to $607 billion, compared to $523 billion in the same period the year before, according to a U.S. Treasury report released Thursday and reported by Bloomberg. Both revenue and spending rose, but spending rose faster. Revenues came to $2.54 trillion, up 1.3 percent from the same nine-month period in 2017, while spending came to $3.15 trillion, up 3.9 percent.
Pennsylvania’s insurance commissioner sent a letter this week to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma requesting that they “immediately release the funding details for the Navigator program for the upcoming open enrollment period for 2019.” Navigators are the state and local groups that help people sign up for Affordable Care Act plans.
“In years past, grant applications and new funding opportunities were released by CMS in April, CMS required Navigator organizations to apply by June and approved applications and new funding by late August,” Pennsylvania’s Jessica Altman wrote. “The current lack of guidance has put Navigator organizations – and states - far behind in their planning and creates an inability for the Navigator organizations to design a successful plan for helping people enroll during the 2019 open enrollment period.”
U.S. fertility rates have fallen to record lows for two straight years. “Because the fertility rate subtly shapes many major issues of the day — including immigration, education, housing, the labor supply, the social safety net and support for working families — there’s a lot of concern about why today’s young adults aren’t having as many children,” Claire Cain Miller explains at The New York Times’ Upshot. “So we asked them.”
Here are some results of the Times’ survey, conducted with Morning Consult. Read the full Times story for more details.
Gallup says that, for the first time in the 18 years it’s been asking U.S. adults how proud they are to be Americans, fewer than half say they are "extremely proud." Just 47 percent now say they’re extremely proud, down from 70 percent in 2003.
Another 25 percent say they’re “very proud” — but the combined 72 percent who say they’re extremely or very proud is also the lowest Gallup has recorded. Pride levels among liberals and Democrats have plunged since 2017. Overall, 74 percent of Republicans and just 32 percent of Democrats call themselves “extremely proud” to be American.