Mexico City: Mexico's production of tequila, the country's best-known alcoholic beverage, rose 3.37 percent in 2010 compared with the previous year to 257.4 million liters, the Tequila Regulatory Council, or CRT, said Thursday.
Consumption of agave (the plant used to make tequila) topped the 1-million-tonne barrier for the third time in Mexico's history, the CRT said.
During the economic crisis of 2009, consumption of the plant - on which thousands of Mexican farmers depend for their livelihoods - fell to 924,800 tonnes.
According to the CRT, 2010 was a year of 'recovery' for the tequila industry after a 'critical' 2009, with tequila exports climbing 11.58 percent to 152.2 million liters.
The biggest increase was seen in 100 percent agave tequila (the purest form of the beverage), exports of which climbed to 47.8 million liters last year, up 27.8 percent from 2009.
The main foreign market for Mexican tequila continued to be the US, which imported 118.4 million liters in 2010, an increase of 9.42 percent relative to the previous year.
After the US, the biggest importers of Mexican tequila by country were Germany, 7.8 million liters; Spain, 3.5 million liters; France, 2.6 million liters; Canada, 2.3 million liters; and Britain, 1.3 million liters.
The CRT said Mexico currently has 253 million blue agave plants, which take eight years to reach maturity and are the only ones used to make tequila.
Made up of agave growers and tequila producers, bottlers and marketers, the CRT is a non-governmental organization founded in 1994 to verify and certify tequila quality and promote a culture of consumption and production of that alcoholic beverage.