One hundred businesses such as La Risa, La Canica, and La Hija de los Apaches produce 184 million liters per year.
It happened first to tequila, then to mezcal, and now the opportunity for pulque has come to become a popular drink among young people who are attracted by new flavors, despite the pandemic, this sector has already ‘healed itself’ with the forecast of a 10 percent annual increase in sales at the end of this year, according to estimates from the National Association of Traditional Pulquerías (ANPT).
“We are expecting a 10 percent hike because there is already greater demand. Now we are left with 25 traditional pulquerías, but other modern ones have been opened with which we add about 100 approximately ”, César Ponce, president of the ANPT, reported in an interview.
With this 10 percent growth projection, Mexico will reach 184 million liters of pulquero maguey this year, data from the Agrifood and Fisheries Information Service (SIAP) show.
In 2020, 167.2 million liters of pulquero maguey were produced in the country, 2.5 percent less than the previous year, while the value of the commercialization of the drink amounted to 820.4 million pesos.
In Mexico, there are about a hundred pulquerías such as La Hija de los Apaches, Agave 69, Delitro & Medio, Pulquería Sol y Lluvia, La Risa and La Canica, which have popularized fermented mead with flavors such as red wine, toasted coconut, strawberries with cream, marzipan, pine nut, oats, oyster, pico de gallo, pistachio, sapote, celery, walnut, red berries, piña colada and passion fruit.
Thus, while foreigners ‘take over’ the tequila, pulquerías have begun to break down the myths and the age barrier in recent years, since 80 percent of the customers are already young.
Agave 69 triumphs with its curing ‘Covid-19 pela me’
This business challenged the pandemic with a cure that he named the ‘Covid-19 me la pela’ a pulque and citrus drink, preceded by innovations such as ‘gomipulque’ that was ‘shot’ with beer preparations, or the ‘pulquicorn’ that competed with Starbucks’ unicorn coffee, causing these types of seasonal launches to account for 70 percent of its sales.
“One of the first innovations I made was the ‘gomipulque’, and from there I began to realize that something had to be offered to this new wave of young people,” said Federico Olvera, owner of Agave 69, located in the mayor’s office of Xochimilco.
The pandemic led them to migrate to the restaurant-bar license, in addition to adding the home delivery service, which already represents 30 percent of their income with about 40 weekly orders.
“We have gone to the Airport and the Carretera a Cuernavaca, with a minimum order of 400 pesos, so that it suits us, which is about seven liters,” Olvera said.
The Daughter of the Apaches rejuvenates
In the Doctores neighborhood of Mexico City with 70 years of history, La Hija de los Apaches gained relevance with young people in the last decade with its offer of live music by alternative bands such as Tremenda Corte.
“Today 70 percent of the clients are young, a decade ago it was invested. My father lent them the space to express themselves culturally in painting and music, they saw the business, “said Meli Leyva, manager and daughter of founder Epifanio Leyva.
“In 2020 we closed from the end of February to September when we opened with food sales, we changed to a restaurant-bar, currently there are no pulqueria licenses, what they handle are permits and many work clandestinely,” explained Laura Leyva, another of those in charge of the pulquería.
The three young women of the pandemic
Delitro & Medio, Pulquería Sol y Lluvia and La Canica are examples of generations of pulqueros who decided to gamble in the midst of the crisis.
“We never did business opportunity numbers, we are already one year old and we have many clients from home and abroad. The objective was to remove the idea that pulque is dirty, ”said Lorena Chávez, co-founder of Pulquería Sol y Lluvia and creators of the Pulquetion Tour.
For its part, La Canica, in the hands of the jicarero César Armando Ponce, was placed on Insurgentes Centro, still relying on the classic and basic of pulque and its curados, to prepare its expansion of branches.
“Social networks helped us a lot. If there are plans to open more La Canica stores, we are looking for the best way to achieve it, ”shared Ponce.
Meanwhile, Delitro & Medio seeks to highlight the cultural richness of pulque de Tlaxcala, the State of origin of its founders, the Cabrera Ruíz brothers, Alberto and Jorge.