Mexico produces about 250 million liters of Tequila annually and 200 million liters of Mezcal, the latter of which has recently seen exponential growth.
Tequila has a protected appellation of origin honored through trade agreements with other countries similar to Champagne or Bourbon. Tequila must be produced in one of the five approved states of Jalisco, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, Guanajuato or Mihoacán. Tequila is an agave-based spirit and must include at least 50% of its base from the high-quality Blue Weber agave plant.
Spirits made in Mexico from other species of the agave plant are known as Mezcal. Most Mezcal production is based in Oaxaca and has a smokier flavor than Tequila. The flavor comes from the unique cooking process which imparts smoke into the heart of the agave plants (known locally as piñas).
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