Across the Boozy Pond: Inside the UK's Agave Spirits Boom
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New Low-ABV Tequila Touches Down Across the Pond; A Look Inside the UK’s Agave Spirits Boom

Agave Spirits

(Photo: Ceder’s Drinks)

Unexpectedly — depending on who you ask — a new non-alcoholic tequila alternative has just been launched in Richmond, England.

Created by Ceder’s founders Maria Sehlström and Craig Hutchison, Soldadera will feature a zero-proof Blanco and “Café” flavor distilled with actual agave minus the boozy bite. Retailing for $20 a bottle, the release signals fast-evolving trends in the global agave spirits market.

In years past, Ceder’s specialized in non-alcoholic renditions of gin featuring botanicals like juniper, basil, coriander, chamomile and ginger. Soldadera will be its first tequila alternative, and, according to the brand, the first dedicated non-alcoholic tequila to be sold in the UK.

Agave Spirits

Ceder’s gin-adjacent lineup. (Photo: Ceder’s Drinks)

In other ways, however, Soldadera is one of many.

In June, UK-based Quarter Proof Distillery unveiled its ominously named ‘T/quila‘, a 12% ABV spirit distilled from imported blue weber agave alongside Sarawak and orange habanero pepper botanicals (its slash-inclusive name evidently enough to skirt protected designation of origin laws).

Other recent UK-oriented releases include Neurita Tequila, a flavored spirits brand built around pomegranate and tangerine infusions, and Sphynx Tequila, released earlier this year by former Big Brother contestants Sukhvinder and Imran Javeed.

As it stands today, the UK is the fifth largest importer of tequila behind the US, Germany, Spain and France. Though “fifth largest” might sound like a helpful touchstone, it can not be overstated how drastically the US outpaces the global market — America’s trending hunger for agave consumes hundreds of millions of liters more than the rest of the world combined.

Agave Spirits

Leading countries of destination of tequila exports from Mexico in 2022, in 1,000 liters. (Photo: Statista)

Still, the ever-present popularity of celebrity tequila is clearly having an effect. Tequila sales in UK-based shops and supermarkets reportedly rose 94% from 2020 to 2022 and projections forecast that the market may continue doubling in value until 2025.

In years to come, expect a growing wave of non-Mexican-based distillers to put countless twists on the concept.

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Pedro Wolfe is the managing editor of Tequila Raiders. With several years of experience writing for the New York Daily News and the Foothills Business Daily under his belt, Pedro aims to combine quality reviews and recipes with incisive articles on the cutting edge of the tequila world. Pedro has traveled to the heartland of the spirits industry in Tequila, Mexico, and has conducted interviews with agave spirits veterans throughout Mexico, South Africa and California. Through this diverse approach, Tequila Raiders aims to celebrate not only tequila but the rich tapestry of agave spirits that spans mezcal, raicilla, bacanora, pulque and so much more.