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The mini explosion

Since Silencio’s Cora Tang told me that their mini bottles were selling like hot cakes others in the industry seem to be headed the same direction. The sudden move to off premise sales means that everyone is scrambling to present mezcal in ready to take out portions. While some are selling pre-mixed cocktails, many are portioning out cocktail components and selling them in kits or with counter top presentations.

Max Garrone | Mezcalistas

This week most of the brands I talked to were aware of this and some are scrambling to source small bottles so expect to see more soon. It’s like TWA and Pan Am came back from the dead and we’re all going to be creating collections again. While many bars are using standard plastic to-go containers to break down .750 bottles into cocktail kits, the brands want to keep their labels front and center and develop that relationship with consumers in a very direct sense.

Max Garrone | Mezcalistas Madre Mezcal’s 200ml bottle.

The race to get bottles that retain that connection is stretching already tight supply lines. It’s not like anyone anticipated needing thousands of small bottles and many of them are at glass plants in Mexico and not here so shipments are stretched everywhere. Brands like Madre and Rey Campero have a ready made alternative in their 200ml hip flask bottles which were already a mix of fantastically portable packaging that brought their brands to people who, perhaps, weren’t ready to pay for a full bottle. Madre’s founder Ryan Fleming told me that “It’s a good intro. People love the packaging. People turn it into art or a vase. [They’re] still a steady seller, kind of like our Trojan Horse.”

Max Garrone | Mezcalistas The Rey Campero .375ml bottles.

Now that the rush is on, let the innovations begin. If you check Old Town Tequila (Mezcalista’s retail partner) you’ll find a number of small bottles including Tio Pesca‘s 50ml kit, Legendario Domingo’s Oaxaca 50 ml or 200 ml and 200ml Michoacan, Peleton 200ml, three of Mezcales de Leyenda’s main line bottles in 100ml bottles and Ilegal Mezcal in both 200ml and 376ml bottles.

This week Dos Volcanes, the blue agave spirit from Colima which is really a tequila without the certification, is launching a a three bottle .375ml gift box. Dos Volcanes already has a three bottle .375ml set on sale as well as individual bottles of the .375s but brand owner Craig Reynolds says “I figured that while they  make excellent gifts individually they would be even better as a set, especially with attractive packaging. An excellent gift for any agave lover in the $100 range.”  And the presentation is very attractive, the bottles are individually blown, made in Tonala, Jalisco out of 100% recycled glass.

The new Coronavirus Dos Volcanes three pack.
Max Garrone | Mezcalistas The back of the Dos Volcanes gift box.

The new gift box will be available through Old Town within days, you may even be able to reserve one now. You’ll soon be able to order them through LibDib or if you happen to be local at the Hilltop General Store in SF, The Good Bottle in Sacramento, Roco’s in West Sacramento, and Davis Co-Op. Reynolds also thinks that this presentation is very friendly to many of the local agave clubs. He “just talked to two liquor stores and they’re doing that sort of thing.”  Plus they’re collectible. You may even have to build a shelf for all the bottles like this that will show up soon.

Susan Coss | Mezcalistas Special Tasting Package

Be sure to check out this special tasting package we put together in partnership with Old Town Tequila. It features the 200ml bottles of the Madre Espadin/Cuishe Ensemble, Rey Campero Espadin and Legendario Domingo Michoacan Cupreata – three distinctly different mezcals that reflect different production styles and agave flavors.

Max co-founded Mezcalistas with Susan way back in 2012. Before that he was a journalist at Salon.com and The San Francisco Chronicle.

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