The realities of climate change and the economic impact of Covid-19 have made the topic of sustainability even more important. But what exactly does sustainability even mean for the mezcal industry? Over the years we have written about the topic
[caption id="attachment_14731" align="alignnone" width="640"] [media-credit id=4 align="alignnone" width="640"][/media-credit] Vinaza storage tanks ready to be placed[/caption] 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.
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.