Jose Cuervo expects tequila sales this year to beat 2003. Mexico's leading tequila producer believes that its sales will rise to MXN3.574 billion (US$312m) this year, from around MXN3.34 billion last year.

Last year, the company sold around 7m cases of liquors, 5.7m cases of which were tequila.

For the first two months of this year, however, total exports of tequila fell to 15.1m litres, a decrease of 7.92% year-on-year.

Total Mexican tequila exports in 2003 increased to 101.6m litres, compared to 88m litres in 2002, although total output for the country fell last year.