24 Responses

  1. Rachel Glueck at |

    THANK YOU enormously for this article! My husband and I are working on starting a mezcal company, working only with small-batch, artisanal producers. He is a native from Guerrero and has a family history of mezcal (producing, selling, and drinking, of course), but I’m relatively new to it. Trying to interpret Noel’s Spanish-English explanation of the COMERCAM and the process is always a bit tricky. This article completely cleared it up for me.
    I’ve been reading/hearing about small producers starting a legal fight with the COMERCAM, because they’ve essentially marginalized the vast majority of mezcal producers. Most mezcaleros can’t afford to get certified, and as you say, most states aren’t authorized to sell their mezcal labeled as such. (See this article: http://bit.ly/1zUtpg3).
    Noel and I are working on launching our own brand, which we plan to have as an association of mezcaleros. We’ll need to work with the COMERCAM, but we really want to support those marginalized mezcal producers. It will be an interesting journey, no doubt!
    We’re currently crowdfunding to launch Phase I of our project. See here: http://bit.ly/WXxQc9
    I’ve referred to your blog multiple times – I really appreciate your mezcal nerdiness! Gracias!

  2. matt Bautista at |

    Very interesting article
    I am doing a research on mezcal production and demand.
    Mezcal production and demand are shooting up like a rocket, and barely in 2005 got out from the shadows…

    I live in the US, but am originally from Mexico, from the “world capital of mezcal” a town in Oaxaca, Mexico known as Santiago Matatlan Tlacolula, Mexico. That’s where mezcal original is.

    Anyways my dad’s dad used to be a big producer of mezcal, until he died and left everything on my uncles hands(I don’t really want to go into the topic )
    My dad also used to produce mezcal…(am go straight to the point am trying to go)
    My dad found a way to make Mezcal 100% all natural (mezcal is natural, but throughout the process of the preparation there’s a point where it stops being 100% natural am not sure about the quality of the best mezcal out there but, am sure that my dad’s mezcal one day is gonna hit the market and we are working on it, we don’t have a big capital on our hands to start off with out project but we will one day.

    Thanks for the info

    1. Roberto at |

      You are in a complete mistake. . Although mezcal was “unheard” by you .. it was not discovered in 2005.. but until 400 b.C. Just to let the audience knows about the real history of Mezcal and not get confused. Im a mezcal producer and Mexican entrepreneur as well.. you can reach me at roberto.juarez@juvbros.com for more details about mezcal.

  3. […] why the sudden interest in mezcal? The Mezcal PhD blog has some great insight, and according to it, “Mezcal has only been regulated and certified since […]

  4. Mario at |

    Great article! I, like others, await your book….yes, there is market space for a well written book about mezcal…

  5. Earl (Popeye) Fish at |

    well Mr John, thank you again for a very interesting piece. The writing style looks very familiar. It seems I may have read some of your “stuff” earlier. I am a novice as is my knowledge and it is always refreshing to hear from the educated class. Keep ’em coming

  6. Craig Denton at |

    John – here in Mexico – first drink ordered here was Mezcal Margarita at our favorite restaurant in Bucerias outside of PV. Loved the taste testing blog, which I reread down here since I printed it out. Enjoy these bits of history – when is the book coming out. Craig

  7. Lucas Ranzuglia at |

    Good post. I would clarify though that some entrepreneurs are in the mezcal just for business reasons without caring for the palenqueros. Some big mezcal names are examples of this.

    Another fact that ignited mezcal’s popularity is that it was consumed by artists and bohemians in Mexico city (and Guadalajara, as well), it was referred to in the classic book Under the volcano” decades ago. A crucial point is that today’s Mexicans from 20’s to mid 30’s are proud of their origins in a different way that previous generations, so at the same time that they value their origins they have a proactive way of thinking and are developing a new cutting edge mexican identity.
    This generation blends well with entrepreneurs in their 40’s – 50’s and had helped the introduction of mezcal into the Big mexican cities and later on into some cities abroad. Among this generation of youngsters and young adults there is of course the good and the bad, since some of them do it just for business while others primarily for passion that lead to a fair and honest partnership with the palenqueros.

    Good bartenders had picked up mezcal long before the time you say in your article, but since it was not available it was no good for driving a business in which you need consistency both in the product and in the supplies chain reliability. I remember there was Sotol from Chihuahua even back in 2003….Yet Tequila proved reliable and had interesting products, but since today they all taste more or less the same and the interest had fade away, mezcal is filling that gap. Sadly there are great tequilas that don’t do it outside of Mexico, as well s with mezcales. Yet this is part of the mysticism that drives its popularity…who doesn’t want to have a little of something difficult to have access to? just like scotch popularity back in prohibition era…I believe.

    cheers, LR

  8. Andrew at |

    Wow. What a great mezcal primer. That’s more than a primer, in fact. That’s a really valuable blog post.

    We have over 70 mezcals at here at Liberty in Seattle, but even if we just had 10, the story would be the same every day, “What’s mezcal, again? That’s like tequila, right?”

    One last issue that contributed towards the almost over-night acceptance of mezcal is the development of the palates. I suppose that goes under the “mixologist” part, but scotch has come & gone, bourbon & rye were interesting for a long time, tequila was romantical…but now, mezcal a never-ending broadening of the palate. Every batch, every season, the flavor changes, so while people may have been used to the perfectly dependable, perfectly crafted whiskies & tequila, mezcal is a brave new world.

  9. Laura Reinking at |

    Mezcal was recently and incidentally involved in a public scandal in Mexico. As was reported in The New York Times, “Andrea Benítez simply did what many rich, connected Mexicans have always done: she used her influence to step on the lower born. Witnesses said that when she was not given the table she wanted on Friday at Maximo Bistrot, a popular Mexico City restaurant, she called in inspectors who worked for her father at the country’s main consumer protection agency to shut it down.”

    Officially, the complaint was that the reservation system was not clearly posted AND THAT THE MEZCAL did not “meet the norms”. Versions of the story vary. Some say that the complaint consisted in that the agave used was out of the norm, other news programs said that the problem was that the capacity of the bottles (750 ml) was not listed.

    Anyway, the NYT adds: “What followed, however, caught much of Mexico by surprise. Instead of enjoying the perks of privilege, Ms. Benítez and her father have become the targets of a broad and swift social media campaign — with tens of thousands of Tweets condemning them — that led the president’s office on Monday to announce a formal investigation into allegations of abuse of power.”

  10. Quiquigirl at |

    another awesome article…thanks!!!

  11. Sonia Gomez at |

    After what you wrote in this blog…. Who needs to read Mezcalaria by Ulises Torrentera? Thanks for all the interesting and well written information.


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