Tasting the ether

Tasting the ether

Recently I snagged the last ticket to an intimate mezcal tasting at ABV’s refashioned upstairs event room.Marco Ochoa of Mezcaloteca and Andrea Hagan of Mezcouting were in town and had coordinated a tasting with ABV’s Ryan Fitzgerald. The audience was a cluster of local bar culture from all over the Bay Area, Prizefighter to School Night, and all the locations in-between.

And what a show, read more…

Viñaza

Susan Coss | Mezcalistas

Vinaza storage tanks ready to be placed

This is the liquid waste that remains after distillation. Literally the word means “cheap wine” which is both a call back to all the wine and mezcal associations like Viño del Mezcal and probably a terrifyingly accurate description of what viñaza is in the mezcal world – so cheap and alcoholic that it might do the job but it would probably kill or seriously injure you in the process. read more…

Mezcal Vago has a new partner

Mezcal Vago has a new partner

Word out of Tales of the Cocktail is that is was a stunning success under the new owners, which is good news for the industry. In addition to all of the awards news (congratulations Don Rogelio of Del Maguey!) there was also the usual chisme to sort through. Part of that included talk swirling around Mezcal Vago and some changes underway. After speaking with owner Judah Kuper today, I am happy to report that while the radio channel may have changed, the song remains the same (groan!) read more…

A Del Maguey journey

A Del Maguey journey

This has been a piece a long time in the making, ever since the news of Pernod Ricard partnering with  Del Maguey broke almost exactly a year ago on June 7th 2017, and changed the landscape of the mezcal category. It has been just a year, but what a year it has been, and the changes have been cataclysmic for mezcal. I don’t think any of us could have predicted the speed at which other multinational spirit companies would enter the space and how quickly it would impact not only mezcal production. While mezcal remains a tiny portion of the spirits industry, less than 1%, its year over year growth and visibility, it has been exponential. read more…

So much mezcal, so much vinaza

So much mezcal, so much vinaza

It’s something that most of us don’t really think about when it comes to mezcal because we are so focused on the magic being made in the still, but with every liter of mezcal produced there are about ten liters of liquid waste produced. That’s called the vinaza. In small production runs, it is seemingly manageable to dispose of. You can pour it in the river or the field and it will break down in weeks. If you add chemicals that process can be shortened to days. But as soon as you multiply production runs, suddenly it is a whole different proposition. read more…

Mexico in a Bottle DC in pictures

Mexico in a Bottle DC in pictures

It has been just over a week since our big, sold out Mexico in a Bottle DC event. A lot has changed in the DC market since we were there last year, primarily the landscape of Mexican restaurants and Mezcalerias – with a full slate of just opened (Mi Vida at the Wharf) and the soon to open fine dining establishments from the folks behind Taco Bamba and TTT (Tacos, Tortas and Tequila). It’s great to see DC embracing higher end Mexican food and of course, mezcal. We look forward to working with these guys next year! read more…

What just happened with the CRM?

What just happened with the CRM?

As you may have noticed there was a huge explosion on social media last week about the Consejo Regulador del Mezcal (CRM) in Oaxaca. The CRM makes the rules for mezcal so this was big news: The headquarters were locked and sealed, Hipocrates Nolasco Cancino the leader of the CRM chained himself to a gate, there were wild rumors about a takeover and then, on Tuesday morning, everything seemed to go back to normal. read more…

NOM 70 goes into effect today

Hipócrates Nolasco CancinoMax Garrone | Mezcalistas

The head of the CRM which regulates mezcal, Hipócrates Nolasco Cancino. He guided NOM 70 through to completion.

We’ve been talking about this for so long that it sure feels like NOM 70, the guiding regulatory rules for the mezcal industry, is old news. In fact, today is when it officially kicks in and going forward, all products coming into the market will have to adhere to the new rules and regulations.

We did a big breakdown here on exactly what is in the new NOM. Additionally, the full text can be found here.

The big takeaway – a lot more information on the bottle labels, three classifications of mezcal (Mezcal, Mezcal Artesanal, Mezcal Ancestral), clear can and cannot do’s, agave registration, and more transparency in finding out who made the mezcal and how each batch was made.

Onward!

About that small producer…

About that small producer…

I am subscribed to several Facebook groups all about mezcal, and a common theme is the one of the small producer, though exactly what a small producer is a question unto itself. In the international world of spirits, let’s be frank, everyone in the mezcal world is a small producer if you look at the actual volume produced. Let’s say for the moment that the biggest players in the category produce maybe 200,000 liters a year – that is peanuts in the alcohol world. For the category to get anywhere near tequila’s production levels will take years and of course will require gigantic production shifts – something most of us obsessives are not keen to see, not even some of those brands we see as the big guys. read more…