Chinas restrictions mean only some Tequila brands can be sold in the country

China's restrictions mean only some Tequila brands can be sold in the country

The Mexican Government has asked China to give "scientific justification" for its long-running restriction on high-alcohol Tequilas in the country. 

Mexico's authorities have been in talks with China since 2009 over its ban on distilled spirits containing more than two grams of methanol per litre. The measure prevents premium Tequilas being sold in China, whereas other Tequilas have access to the market.

But Tequila makers appear to be stepping up efforts for a breakthrough. 

John McDonnell, chairman of trade body DISCUS and Patron Spirits COO & international president, told just-drinks today (23 April): "The Mexican Government, with support from the US and the EU, has formally requested that China provide scientific justification for their methanol limits, as it effects not just Tequila, but also some EU fruit spirits." 

He added that he hoped the issue could be "resolved soon".

However, a spokesperson for the National Chamber for the Tequila Industry sounded a more downbeat note on China changing tack. "Unfortunately we cannot guarantee this will be soon and we haven’t had a positive response from China, although we are pushing strong to make it happen," the spokesperson said.

The group said the issue is a "priority" and is pushing for the limit to be raised to "at least" three grams of methanol per litre. 

According to the chamber, around ten Tequila brands are already sold in China - including Jose Cuervo, Pernod Ricard's Olmeca Altos and Proximo's 1800 - that meet the country's regulations. Others include Pepe Lopez and Camino Real.

Last October, Peter Gutierrez, Jose Cuervo's international MD told just-drinks that the brand is "only getting started there (China)", with sales remaining small.