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Beam Suntory, Bacardi stage Cinco de Mayo tequila turnaround

Consumer Staples 695 Mexico 803

The emergence of many U.S. cities from COVID-19 related lockdowns may lead to increased spending on “Cinco de Mayo” celebrations in 2021, Bloomberg reports. That spending will in part occur at restaurants and bars rather than at home, leading to a potential surge in purchases of alcoholic beverages imported from Mexico.

Panjiva’s data shows that Mexican exports of tequila jumped 24.0% year over year in Q1’21, outpacing an 8.7% rise in shipments of beer over the same period. The differential doesn’t just reflect the impact of the pandemic, however, with exports in Q1’21 compared to Q1’19 of tequila having increased by 75.7% while those beer rose by just 8.0%.

Tequila outpaces beer both before and after the pandemic

Chart compares change in Mexican exports of beer and tequila to all destinations. Source: Panjiva

The surge in global demand for tequila hasn’t benefited all exporters equally and has faced challenges from congestion in the global logistics network, as discussed in Panjiva’s research of March 1. Becle, maker of the Cuervo brand of tequilas, appears to have faced more challenges than its peers with imports in Q1’21 down by 22.0% year over year including a 29.4% slide in March. Yet, the firm’s imports were nonetheless 20.5% higher than the same period of 2019 suggesting a more robust performance during the pandemic. 

Other importers have done markedly better on a year over year basis, with shipments linked to Bacardi’s Patron brand up by 99.4% in Q1’21 versus a year earlier. Unlike Becle however, Bacardi’s shipments were 18.1% below 2019’s levels reflecting a tougher recovery from the effects of the pandemic. Meanwhile, shipments associated with Beam Suntory’s Tequila Sauza improved by 37.0% year over year and were unchanged compared to 2019.

Becle more robust during pandemic, Bacardi bounces higher

Chart segments change in Mexican exports of tequila by consignee. Source: Panjiva

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