The good folks at the Tequila Interchange Project are circulating a petition in opposition to the newly proposed NOM 199 that came out of left field. This is the NOM put forward to streamling and regulate the entire spirits industry in Mexico, which in theory sounds great. Of course like so many good intentions, it has gone horribly awry and is terrible news for any producer of agave distillates that falls outside of the DO.
Per the petition:
“NOM 199 seeks to limit the use of the words “agave” and “maguey” to agave distillates produced within already-present DO’s (Denominations of Origen: similar to AOC’s and DOC’s in other parts of the world). If this legislation is accepted, agave distillers outside of a DO would lose the right to declare on their label either the primary ingredient or the means of production, thereby functionally undoing all of the strides that have been made in recent years towards a culture of agave dedicated to transparency, traceability, fair and ethical practices, and sustainability.”
Additionally, the NOM introduces a new term into the discussion:
“All non-DO distillates (traditional, artisanal, or otherwise) would then be labelled under the generalized heading of Komil. Komil is an Aztec word, broadly defined as “alcoholic drinks”. It is a word without a context within this industry, and the stroke of a pen would make it a fuzzy, catch-all term for both 100% Agave distillates and every type of Mixto (a combination of agave distillate and grain neutral or cane-distilled spirits) produced. This means that barring sudden and uncharacteristic transparency on the part of giant spirits producers and tequila houses, everyone’s packaging within this artificially wide category would be silent on how and where your “Komil” is made of or even what is in it.”
We strongly encourage you to sign this petition in opposition to NOM 199 and help circulate it. Voices from the market in the US were integral to blocking the previous NOM 186 and for making tremendous strides and changes for the new NOM 70 regulating the mezcal industry. They point to petitions in Mexico so make sure to click through to those as well.
We have a separate petition in support of NOM 70.