Can Drones Make Tequila Production More Sustainable?

Diageo has begun using drones to water agave farms

a field of blue weber agave in Jalisco, Mexico with tequila Volcano in the background
A field of blue weber agave in Jalisco, Mexico
Getty Images

Diageo is the largest producer of tequila in the world, meaning they (likely) use more agave than any other company. So to be more mindful of their resource use and the environment, the booze behemoth has employed the help of drones to help them water their Jalisco, Mexico agave farms more efficiently. Water is often scarce in this locale, so the initiative to reduce their consumption is a smart move. 

The decision to use drones follows a pilot program from 2022, in which agave planters were trained to operate the drones. The drones are used in pairs: one pinpoints the agave plants that need a pesticide and fertilizer water mix, and the other actually dispenses the mix. This sees to it that resources are only used on plants that truly need them, and the data collection from the drones is also helping planters to make more educated decisions on which resources to use — and when. For example, figures show that the cooler, less windy early morning hours are the best time to water the agave because they are more receptive to hydration.

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Not only have the drones helped Diageo reduce water use by about two-thirds, but the farmers also have to use less tractors, which reduces carbon emissions. The drone initiative is all part of Diageo’s 2030 ESG action plan, which contains a commitment to “reduce water use in water-stressed areas by 40% and by 30% in all other areas.”

Diageo’s tequila portfolio includes Don Julio, Casamigos and DeLeón. So the next time you’re mixing a Margarita or pouring a sip of extra añejo with one of these brands, you can enjoy it just a bit more.


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