In a memo circulated on April 22nd, Consejo Regulador del Mezcal (CRM) president Hipocrates Nolasco Cancino confirmed he would not be seeking an additional term in this year’s elections. He had previously announced in 2018 that this would be his final term as president. He also announced there would be two national assemblies of the organization, the first on May 7th to vote on changes to the statutes guiding the CRM, the second on a not yet named date to vote on new leadership for the organization.
Nolasco has been president of the CRM since 2012. During his time as president, the mezcal category has undergone a series of legal and economic transformations that range from the implementation of NOM-70 to the explosive growth in the market. To give a sense of just how explosive that growth has been; in 2012 there were 980,000 liters of certified mezcal produced in Mexico. In 2019, the last full year of numbers available from the CRM, 7.2 million liters of certified mezcal were produced in the country. In terms of monetary value, in 2015, the value of mezcal production was approximately 2.1 billion pesos, in 2019 it was 6.9 billion pesos, or a 38% growth. There was also a push for greater transparency with the development of the QR code system on bottles of mezcal that consumers could use to understand more about the mezcal they were buying.
Nolasco Cancino’s leadership was not without controversy: There were frequent and difficult discussions about the size of the DO, who was in control of the very word “mezcal” and even questions about his ownership of a lab that certified mezcal. The last election held in 2018 was marred by controversy that was never quite explained. But there is no doubt that under his leadership the mezcal industry was completely transformed into a nationally and internationally recognized high quality spirit.
The full announcement can be read here.