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FaneKantsini is the brand of mezcal cooperative Tres Colibri headed by Maestra Mezcalera Sosima Olvera Aguilar in the Sierra Sur of Oaxaca.
Tres Colibrí or three hummingbirds comes from the prehispanic calendar in which months were referred to as animals (the third day of the month of hummingbird). That’s the birthday of a mythical superhero from the Chontal region, Fanekantsini, who Sósima wanted to pay homage to with the cooperative’s brand name as a symbol of pride in her region’s culture.
The inspiration for the cooperative came through Sósima’s involvement with church groups that used a cooperative model to provide basic needs and foods for the community.
“The cooperative system is something that goes further than benefitting the individual. I thought how do we continue forming this in the pueblos, this communal work that at the end of the day is how you make mezcal anyway?” she said when I visited Sola de Vega with her.
The mezcaleros rotate using the palenque for their own distillations but help each other with certain steps and make economic decisions together, which can be difficult especially when it involves sustainable practices that might be more costly or alter the ways other maestros previously did things.