The price of a shot of tequila could soon shock drinkers at bars as the world prepares to deal with a tequila shortage, reports and experts warn.

Dwindling agave crops are gaslighting price spikes in the tequila business and industry experts warn this could lead to shortages even among major manufacturers.

Agave is a blue-tinged, spikey plant and is the main ingredient used in the production of the beverage.

And the price of agave has risen six-fold over the last two years, Reuters reported.

The warnings come as tequila demand has forced some farmers to use young plants, which take about eight years to fully develop, to rectify the shortage of matured agave.

The young agaves produce less tequila and that means more are pulled out of the ground early.

And farmers and industry experts warn this could result in the downward spiral of tequila production.

One grower, who didn't want to identified, from Guanajuato in Mexico, told Reuters:

They are using four-year-old plants because there aren’t any others. I can guarantee it because I have sold them.

Farmers at a agave plantation in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico. Picture: Picture: Farmers at an agave plantation in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico ( REUTERS/Carlos Jasso)

More than a dozen tequila industry experts told Reuters warn that the compensation will prompt even worse shortages in 2018, and it could last until at least 2021.

What’s more, figures from the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) and the National Tequila Industry Chamber (CNIT) show that the 17.7 million agaves planted in 2011 for harvest in 2018 is a massive shortfall of the 42 million plants the industry needs to supply 140 companies.

So right now, the average price for agave is 22 pesos ($1.18) per kilo, up from 3.85 pesos in 2016.

And demand for the drink globally is higher than ever. One major seller, Patron Spirits International, said the demand for tequila has overtaken the industry. Francisco Soltero of the group told Reuters:

The growth has overtaken us. It’s a crisis of success of the industry.

We thought that we were going to grow a certain amount, and we’re growing double.

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