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🥃 Everyone loves tequila

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In today’s email:

  • Tequila and mezcal are taking over.
  • Chart: US household wealth dips.
  • Digits: Taser drones, Domino’s woes, and charging cables.
  • Around the web: NASA’s new game, how to find fresh air, secret art made public, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear about Spotify’s next chapter — books, and why the company thinks it can easily grow to 10x its current size. Plus, seven quick things to know heading into the week.

The big idea
Tequila

Tequila and mezcal are taking over the bar

You may be most familiar with tequila in a shot glass, accompanied by a salt rim and lime wedge (AKA training wheels).

But tequila and mezcal are in the midst of a rapid rise in popularity, vaulting agave-based spirits to the top of the liquor cabinet, per Bloomberg.

In 2022…

… American consumers will spend more on tequila and mezcal than whiskey. Per IWSR, they will likely also surpass vodka by 2023, making the combo the most purchased spirit category in the US by value.

Mezcal, known for its smoky flavor, saw US consumption jump 53% in 2021, compared to 27% for tequila.

Combined, the two are expected to fuel 81% growth in the agave category in the US by 2026.

What’s behind the rise?

A combination of factors, including:

  • Versatility: Sippable high-end offerings have pushed tequila beyond shots and margaritas. While mezcal can substitute for tequila, it can also be used in drinks that would otherwise call for scotch or whiskey.
  • Health factor: Though it’s hard to justify any spirit as healthy, 100% agave tequila is gluten free, low in calories, and has fewer congeners (fermentation products that lead to hangovers) than other spirits.
  • Broad appeal: Tequila and mezcal consumption spans age, gender, culture, and occasion, giving it a wider market than other spirits.

There’s also the celebrity factor. George Clooney, Kendall Jenner, Eva Longoria, and Justin Timberlake are just a few of the famous figures dipping their toes in the tequila pool.

What’s next?

The growth of tequila and mezcal isn’t exclusive to the US. The UK, Russia, Germany, and Japan are among the 10 largest markets for the agave category — which means global domination could be on the horizon.

If you’re looking for the next mezcal, look no further than sotol, a Mexican spirit made from dasylirion cactus that has (controversially) started popping up in bars across Texas.

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SNIPPETS

The Biden administration proposed rules for its budding national EV charging network. States will get $7.5B to develop it, and charging standards will help ensure drivers in all states have a consistent and reliable experience.

Spotify execs told investors that audiobooks will be the next vertical it tackles. The company announced the acquisition of audiobook platform Findaway in November 2021.

Notion acquired Cron, a calendar app that uses keyboard shortcuts, in an effort to broaden its functionality and productivity features. Cron was named Product Hunt’s Productivity App of the Year in 2021.

“Family Guy” star Seth Green paid $300k to recover his stolen Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT. The NFT was taken in a phishing attack, and is slated to star in Green’s upcoming TV show “White Horse Tavern.”

Discord diaries: Discord is dominating as the preferred communication platform for Web3 orgs. But WTF is actually going on over there? We sent a Hustle writer into the depths of five crypto servers to find out.

Stitch Fix is reducing its workforce by 15% (~330 jobs) after sales fell 8% YoY in Q3. #ecommerce-retail

Google, Facebook, and Microsoft aren’t into a ~$4B wind farm proposed for Iowa, claiming it could drive up electricity costs. #clean-energy

Uhh: A Google engineer who is currently on paid leave from the company claims LaMDA, Google’s AI chatbot generator, has become sentient. #emerging-tech

Bummer: At last week’s Money 20/20 conference in Amsterdam, fintech leaders expressed concern over the current economic climate, including delayed IPOs and possible consolidation for startups that fail to raise funds. #fintech-crypto

Google will pay $118m to settle a lawsuit that includes ~15.5k women who accuse the tech giant of paying them less than their male counterparts. #big-tech

MFM: What’s the “holiday party tactic” for winning? Shaan Puri explains. #mfm

Chart
America's household wealth flatlines

Selina Lee

US household wealth hits a snag

US household net worth dropped in Q1 of 2022, the first dip in two years, per the Federal Reserve. This was largely driven by the stock market’s recent downtown.

What’s that mean?

Overall, household net worth decreased by $540B to $149.3T.

Household net worth is determined by subtracting liabilities from assets.

  • Liabilities include debt, which grew 8.3%, slightly more than last quarter.
  • Assets include the things you own, like real estate.

Real estate values jumped $1.6T this quarter, but that wasn’t enough to fully offset a $3T drop in the value of corporate equities — AKA stocks — held by households.

The last decline came in Q1 2020…

… at the beginning of the pandemic. But as many homes received stimulus payments, net worth rose to a record $149.8T in Q4 of 2021.

Now, even with stocks down, bank accounts remain $39T above pre-pandemic levels, per Bloomberg.

Meanwhile…

… inflation rose 8.6% YoY in May, the highest increase since 1981. In the past year, fuel prices alone are up 106.7%. In an effort to curb this, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates.

And according to MarketWatch, it’s the financial health of US households that will determine whether the economy can withstand those hikes.

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Free Resource

How to launch your own WordPress website

Home to 450m+ pages, WordPress is still the king of websites.

Drafting your own can seem like a doozy. But you know how we do. Simplifying complex processes for the people.

It’s not so bad, actually. Take HubSpot’s step-by-step guide and checklist to start designing your dream website. Detailed instructions, best practices, and plug-in recommendations included.

Inside the ultimate WordPress guide:

  • Set up your domain name
  • Install an SSL certificate
  • Analyze your content
  • Create a child theme
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Twenty-two steps between you and your very own space. One at a time. Each notch off that list feels so good, right?

Handy WordPress checklist →
By the Numbers
Axon’s Taser drone

Conceptual rendering of Axon’s Taser drone (Source: Axon)

Digits: Taser drones, Domino’s woes, and charging cables

1) Axon, the US company that makes Tasers, has plans for a Taser-shooting drone. The company’s AI ethics board apparently opposed the device, and when the drone’s development continued regardless, nine members resigned in protest.

2) Domino’s staffing shortage is so bad, the company had to halt US orders and reduce store hours for the equivalent of 6 days in Q1. It also expects up to 3k stores to route deliveries through call centers by year-end. (At least people can still do pizza order freestyle raps.)

3) Good news for Europe’s iPhone owners: By fall 2024, smartphones there will be required to use USB-C charging ports — so no more of Apple’s absolutely unnecessary Lightning cables. The move could cut out 11k metric tons of e-waste annually.

4) Disney+ has 137.7m subscribers, but 50m+ of them use Disney+ Hotstar — the service’s Indian version — with local cricket rights being a major draw. Disney is now entering a gargantuan bidding war for those rights for 2023-27 that could reach well over $4.2B. Losing those deals — and subs — would be a bad look.

5) In case you’ve ever wondered which countries have the most robots per capita, here’s your answer: South Korea has 932 industrial bots for every 10k workers. Singapore has 605; Japan, 390; Germany, 371; and the US, 255. In January, South Korea enacted a new law that makes company execs liable for worker injuries, meaning expect even more bots there.

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AROUND THE WEB

⚖️ On this day: In 1966, SCOTUS’s decision in Miranda v. Arizona established the Miranda rights, which mandates that all suspects must be informed of their rights before being questioned.

🔭 Cure boredom: NASA has a new browser game in which players control a digital version of its Roman Space Telescope to capture astrophysical objects. Play it here.

📍 How to: Use Google Maps to find fresh air with its new Air Quality layer.

🖼️ Art: Since 1935, the staff at NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has held secret exhibitions of their own art. This year, it’s open to the public for the first time.

🐾 Aww: A Louisiana man stopped to rescue a small kitten and got a surprise. Full story here.

Meme
tequila meme

Just about sums it up. (Source: Imgflip.com)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Jennifer “I’ll have a paloma, please” Wang.

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