In the early 2000s, a shortage of the agave plant used to make tequila prompted producers to partner with Mexican farmers in an effort to harvest more crops. But those agreements heavily favored tequila companies and have had lasting impacts on small farms.
In her book "Divided Spirits: Tequila, Mezcal, and the Politics of Production" (University of California Press/2015), Sarah Bowen recounts her own interviews with Mexican farmers, tequila producers and government officials.
Her research shows the government's efforts to protect tequila's authenticity as a regional product have taken away smaller farmers' abilities to control their own land.
Host Frank Stasio talks with Bowen, associate professor of sociology at North Carolina State University, about the politics of producing tequila.