updated 7/8/2005 3:09:41 PM ET 2005-07-08T19:09:41

Production and exports of Mexico's most famous liquor reached record levels in the first half of the year, according to the tequila industry's regulatory council.

Overall production hit 110.2 million liters, up from 87.4 million liters for the same period last year and from the previous record, 95.8 million liters, in 2000.

Of that, 60.8 million liters were exported, up from the previous record of 54.9 million liters for the same period last year.

The previous six-month production record appeared to be 97.6 million liters in the first half of 1999 as the industry headed for a record yearly output of 190.6 million liters.

The first half of 2005 also saw record production of premium, 100 percent agave tequilas: 37.2 million liters, a jump of 84.15 percent over first-half 2004's figure of 20.2 million liters. Exports of premium tequila hit 10.5 million liters, up from 7.4 million liters in the same period last year.

The Guadalajara-based council said the industry used 369,500 tons of agave plants in the first half of the year, just over half of it for 100 percent agave tequilas. It was the first time since 1999 that premium tequilas accounted for a majority of the agave used.

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