Touring Mezcal Country
The explosion of mezcal, and growing interest in where it comes from has created a mini tourist boom, primarily in Oaxaca, but also in other regions where it is produced. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on who you ask, the tourist infrastructure isn’t fully built out so tours and routes aren’t that obvious. There just isn’t a Silverado Trail even if there are tons of distillers and plenty of roadside stands of somewhat dubious quality, leaving many people wondering, how do I tour mezcal country?
To first understand Mezcal, you have to understand how firmly rooted it is in myth and culture. It begins with an origin story complete with star crossed lovers, demons, battles and finally death and grief so profound it produced a plant given special properties that enabled it to produce a comforting elixir. That plant of course was the agave, and the elixir, pulque which eventually became mezcal.
We’ve created this resource page to help you tour mezcal country and to connect with local guides who can create incredible experiences that help visitors understand not only where mezcal comes from and how it is made, but how that intersects with the local culture in art and food and the communities that produce it. If you need a refresher, or if you are new to mezcal, please check out our Mezcal 101 page to get the basics of production down.
A few things to remember before you set out:
- You will be traveling in back-country, on bumpy roads and in communities that may not have a lot of resources or infrastructure (cell phone/internet coverage, restaurants, capacity to take credit cards, atms, etc.)
- It is important to be mindful of local customs, which your guide can explain, and to be respectful of people – they are craftsmen and highly skilled at what they do. The growth of the mezcal category has placed huge demands on natural resources in Mexico and is fundamentally changing the economics of communities where it is produced.
- As consumers, we need to think about the impact our drinking habits have – touring mezcal producing regions gives you greater understanding of that impact.
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