The tequila makers will continue exporting to the United States and Canada during the health emergency in MexicoAs those trading partners have not imposed restrictions on alcoholic beverages, stopping production now would leave irreversible damage, an industry representative said.
This week, the Mexican government declared the emergency seeking to decrease the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, which has left 60 dead and 1,688 infected in the country, but claimed the lives of almost 55,000 people Worldwide.
“In both the United States and Canada there are no restrictions on the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages.” The president of the Mexican tequila chamber, Rodolfo González, said in an interview with Reuters on Friday.
“We have to go according to what we have signed with the countries with which we have a free trade agreement“he added, referring to a pact that has commercially linked the North American region for more than two decades.
Canada and the United States are the largest export market for the iconic Mexican drink, which generates $ 2 billion a year in sales, according to the camera, and is shipped to 118 other countries.
The emergency in Mexico, effective until April 30, included the immediate suspension of activities considered non-essential in the public, private and social sectors, as well as the concentration of people to a maximum of 50.
González said that the harvest of agave (plant from which tequila is extracted) can continue despite the fact that the alcoholic beverages industry is not among the essential activities, since the cessation of operations could have serious consequences, an exception contemplated by the authorities.
“We, as an agribusiness, if we stop harvesting the agave that we are harvesting right now during this time, especially this time, we couldn’t vacate the land so we could replant it with agave“said the manager.
“We have to have planted all the agave that is going to be planted in the 2020 cycle next month”, added. “So if we had any suspension in our activities it would be irreversible damage,” he stressed.
Sanitary measures have not diminished production, but have slowed down the process of making tequila, González said. However, they maintain their sales growth expectations between 4% and 5% this year., because although the epidemic has hit income due to the closure of restaurants and bars, consumption remains at home.
The brewing industry did not follow the same path as that of tequila.
Grupo Modelo announced Thursday that will temporarily suspend the production and sale of its brands, which it exports to 180 countries, including the popular Corona, and will maintain a minimum operation in plants so as not to have irreversible effects.
Meanwhile, the Dutch Heineken announced on Friday the suspension of production and distribution in its seven plants in Mexico, It involves 16 brands, and said its distribution operations will conclude on April 5.