Farmers work to achieve balance in agave production…
It’s traditionally a farmers’ drink, made in small batches to be sipped out of votive candle holders at festivals. Güendulain’s family has been making it for five generations. They’ve always sold to neighbors, often in recycled bottles, but the boom in international sales of mezcal has encouraged the family to think about new markets. Güendulain has joined a collective of 35 maestros mezcaleros who share the costs of maintaining a label. He’s also carefully watching after his family’s agave.
Mezcal production has roughly doubled since 2011, adding pressure in many new ways to what has long been an informal, almost moonshine, business. Though the shift has opened financial opportunities for some of Mexico’s poorest regions, the legacy of informality has left certain elements exposed, most vitally the future of agave.
Read on at National Geographic.