Factories making tequila with diffusers prioritize volume over quality, so agave plants are grown solely for sugars to transform to alcohol, not to present regional characteristics or points of distinction. Diffused tequila therefore has no organoleptic qualities; it is made from homogenized sugars producing homogenized spirit with neutralized flavors, devoid of character and nuance.
Existing tequila governance allows bulk sale between tequila distillers, so dozens of brands have moved from their owntraditional production to purchasing inexpensivediffusertequila. Their own distilleries now lay dormant, and the flavors of their brands havetotally changed, causing confusion among consumers anderoding the legitimacy of the category.
The uniform, characterless agave-based spirit made by diffusers at 1/3 the price of traditional tequila promotes an imitation spirit but without disclosure to consumers, so producers making true, legitimate tequila are challenged with selling alongside imitations at 3x the production cost.
Small orchards have been bought out by large industrial plantations leading to a reduction in the number of agave cultivators, from over 25,000 twenty years ago to just over 2,000 today. There are now fewer agave producers of a much larger size because they no longer need to select mature plants for harvest, and less soil and plant maintenance is necessary.
Diffuser production uses young, rather than mature, agave for faster crop rotation, and to extract a greater quantity of finished product, sooner.As young agave provides much less raw material than mature agave (7-8kg per plant vs approximately 35-40kg per plant) this adds toa decreased efficiency in agave supply at a time when the tequila category is growing double-digits.
Topsoil erosion is dramatically increased in plantations of young, immature agave plants compared to older, mature agave, because undeveloped roots and lack of shade grasses growing near the plants’ base are insufficient to anchor the soils. These become increasingly vulnerable to wind and rain, while also enduring increases in animal and vehicle traffic from shorter harvest and re-planting cycles.