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A Run On Tequila's Raw Material...Could Take A Toll On Margaritaville

The Indians who made early versions of tequila believed that the fiery liquor was the drink of the gods. They saved it for kings and priests. But after centuries of watching the descendants of those distillers turn the sacred liquor into a gonzo party drink, the gods may finally have had enough.

For what else but divine revenge could explain the tequila makers' current predicament? The drink's popularity is exploding: Not only are people drinking more tequila but they're sipping finer--and pricier--versions. But with fat profits beckoning, producers suddenly can't get enough of their essential raw material: the spiny blue agave. "It's incredible," says Enrique Fonseca, whose distillery is in the town that gave the drink its name. "Just when we find ourselves with a growing market, we're faced with a serious shortage of agave."