It's most well-known for being the main ingredient in the production of the Mexican spirit tequila, but a drought-resistant succulent plant is being touted as the next generation in biofuels. Central Americans have used the sap of the agave plant to distill their potent brew for centuries, but an Australian company wants to harness its high sugar content to make ethanol for energy.

A Berlin barman has gone on trial accused of having served a 16-year-old boy 45 tequila shots, which killed him. The barman is charged with having "fatally injured" the boy in his bar in February 2007. The barman has admitted responsibility, German media report. The 28-year-old barman, identified only as Aytac G, allegedly had a drinking bet with the schoolboy, but poured mostly water for himself. The boy fell into a coma with alcohol poisoning, and died four weeks later.

New North Carolina State University research shows that tequila's surge in popularity over the past 15 years has been a boon for industry, but is triggering a significant hangover of social and environmental problems in the region of Mexico where the once-notorious liquor is produced.