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Majority Leader Aguiar-Curry Bill to Create the California Agave Commission Passes the Assembly Floor

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Assembly Majority Leader Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D- Winters) announced that Assembly Bill 2606 passed the Assembly Floor with strong bipartisan support. This important legislation will help support the sustainable production, processing, and marketing of California-grown agave spirits.

“Agave and the many products we make from it are a fast-growing industry in our Agricultural state.  As climate change, drought, and the growing need for conservation make access to water more difficult, farmers need every available tool to stay economically viable.  Agave is a crop that can help us meet these challenges,” said Assembly Majority Leader Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters). “The Agave Commission will give voice to the growing number of players in this new industry.  Together with the law we passed last year to establish the highest standards in the world for ‘California Agave’, we are on a path to help our farmers and processors be innovative in today’s market and compete across California and the World.”

The increasing impacts of climate change and persistent droughts have reduced water availability throughout California, placing significantly more pressure on the state’s agricultural sector and agriculture-dependent regions. Implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act has also restricted groundwater use to maintain sustainable water-use strategies.

Low-water-use crops like Agave can help us address our water supply challenges, create economic activity, and help support rural jobs, small farmers, farmworkers, and their communities.  Agave has proven to be a promising alternative, requiring 10% or less of the water many traditional crops need while producing new, and high-value products, such as California-grown agave spirits. These agave spirits are similar to tequila, mezcal, and others made in Mexico. According to the Distilled Spirits Council, tequila and mezcal are the fastest-growing spirit categories in the United States today.

In 2022, to protect the emerging agave industry, AB 2303 (Aguiar-Curry, Chapter 694, Statues of 2022) created new standards specifying that “California Agave Spirits” must be made from 100% California-grown agave with no additives for flavor or coloring, creating an unmatched standard for agave spirits. With the growth of the agave industry in California, a new California State Government entity is necessary to help address key challenges facing the industry and provide a voice for agave farmers.

"Establishing this Commission is a critical step for our rapidly growing industry. With increasing water restrictions and long-term droughts, California farmers are finding agaves to be a profitable climate resilient, drought tolerant, sustainable, low water use crop -- an attractive alternative to fallowing productive agricultural lands,” said Craig Reynolds, President of the California Agave Council. "The California Agave Commission, entirely funded by the industry, will help us develop best practices, support research, marketing, bilingual grower education, and other important initiatives. We are grateful for Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry's leadership in helping our industry grow."                                                  

Through a vote of growers and processors, the Commission will self-assess its industry members to provide investments in research, educate the industry about sustainable farming and processing practices, and enhance market competitiveness and consumer education for California agave spirits and products. AB 2606 will empower agave growers and processors and provide a unique opportunity for the blossoming agave industry to self-organize, pool resources, and pursue more opportunities.

AB 2606 now heads to the Senate.


Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all of Lake, Colusa, Napa, and Yolo Counties and part of Sonoma County.