Tequila exports are forecast to continue growing next year after new estimates showed they passed the US$1bn mark for the first time in 2014.

According to the National Chamber of the Tequila Industry (CNIT), export volumes will increase by 3% in 2015 to 180m litres. Volumes for this year are expected to be as much as 175m litres, an increase of 2% on the year before and equal to a record $1.1bn in sales.

The sales boost was a 10% increase on 2013, and CNIT said that passing the $1bn mark shows global consumers are looking for more value-added Tequila.

“Tequila has positioned itself as one of the most important spirits in the world, having a great potential for further growth in exports,” the chamber said.

Figures from the first half of this year showed that Tequila was on course to break through the $1bn barrier. First-half sales were up by 16% to $568m, driven by premium 100% agave Tequila exports to China, Russia and the US, Mexico's agricultural department said.