Panel talk features Pedro Jimenez of Mezonte and Erick Rodriguez of Almamezcalera
Though published in 2015, Sarah Bowen’s book Divided Spirits about Denominaciones de Origen (DO) of agave spirits is as relevant and true today as when it first came out. If anything, the issues and challenges Bowen pointed out in the book are even more pronounced as Tequila, Mezcal, Bacanora and Raicilla have grown and the push for more and more production is changing both agave cultivation and production practices. So what is the purpose of a DO?
“According to Mexican and international law, DOs should protect products that are made in a specific place, when both the reputation and the characteristics of the product are tied to place. But because the DO region for mezcal is enormous, the landscapes, soil types, climates and native agave species that constitute it are quite heterogeneous. This makes it impossible to argue that the mezcal DO has one characteristic terroir. Just as important, the DO excludes many mezcal-producing regions. By doing so, it prevents the mezcaleros in those places, many of whom have multigenerational histories of mezcal production, from selling their spirits as mezcal.” page 132-133, Divided Spirits.
Since those words were written, the DO has expanded to include several other states, but the crux of the issue, the DO treating mezcal production as homogenous rather than heterogeneous remains and its purpose unclear. We’ve written a great deal about this issue, most recently in this piece about the Raicilla DO, which is why we are so excited to make it the focus of our next Conversations in Agave talk on November 13th at the Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco. It is our first live and in person talk since before the pandemic and we are so excited to be talking with Pedro Jimenez of Mezonte and Erick Rodriguez of Almamezcalera.
Tickets available here.