Mezcal, an alcoholic beverage long considered too common to interest connoisseurs, has gained popularity in Mexico and around the world, challenging tequila, the country's best known distilled beverage.

Consumption of mezcal at "drinking holes," bars and restaurants in Mexico City soared 127 percent from 2009 to 2012, the Mexican Mezcal Quality Regulation Council, or Comercam, said.

The number of establishments serving mezcal in the capital increased by 660 percent during the same period, the Comercam said.

Mezcal's growing popularity is made even clearer by the trend in exports, which are growing at a rate of between 35 percent and 40 percent annually, the council said.

"Currently, from 60 (percent) to 65 percent of annual production, of just under 1 million liters, is going abroad, mainly to the United States," Comercam certification manager Ismael Cruz told Efe.

Canada, Guatemala, Britain, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Japan and Taiwan are among the other countries importing mezcal. EFE