Climate change threatens the production of tequila and mezcal  

Climate change threatens the production of tequila and mezcal   Photo by Nerudol

Agave-based liquors such as tequila and mezcal face an uncertain future as climate change and land degradation threaten their production 

Climate change is creating a major threat to liquors made from agave plants such as tequila and mezcal.  

According to recent studies, rising temperatures combined with land degradation and the high demand for agave-based liquors could have a huge impact on their production.  

This is due to a major threat that has been caused to the Mexlong-nosed bat, which is responsible for pollinating the agave plant, found in hot and dry deserts of Central America.  

“The relationship between bats and tequila may seem obscure at first, but the bat-plant association is so strong that the disappearance of one would threaten the survival of the other,” said an official from Bat Conservation International, as cited by Euronews. 

A study that has been conducted on the bat species suggests that climate change is already reducing the ‘suitable environments’ for the animal, which is expected to reduce further as the temperatures rise.  

The study also warns that “As bat numbers dwindle, their interaction with agave plants will be reduced by 75 percent”.  

The Bat Conservation International states that “The potential extinction of the bat will likely have negative effects on the sexual reproduction and genetic variability of agave plants, increasing their vulnerability to future environmental changes,” 

Tequila is made from the blue agave plant which is found in Mexico´s western state of Jalisco, whereas, Mezcal is made from other types including the wild magueys, which can take more than 15 years to mature. 

As the demand for both liquors increases, there is a fear amongst the locals that corporations will resort to over-cultivating the land, creating a more negative impact on the environment that will further threaten biodiversity.


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Written by

Imran Khan