An example of current wording on a label of an agave distillate in the DO but not certified. Under 199, the only thing that could be said is Komil.
With all that’s being written about NOM 199, and there is a lot to write about, we wanted to drill down into the whole issue of the word Komil and exactly who will have to use it if the proposal is adopted.
Wading through the legalese is not easy. Key language is deliberately buried in this sweeping proposal. In order to make it super clear and easy, here is a breakdown of who gets to use what words: Read more
It seems hard to believe that our paths hadn’t crossed before but I finally had the opportunity to meet David Suro, he of Tequila Restaurant in Philadelphia, the Tequila Interchange Project (TIP) and Siembra Azul Tequila. For a good picture of the man and his passion for agave, be sure to checkout the great interview The Kitchen Sisters did with him a few years back.
Suro is in town doing a series of trainings and tastings for his Siembra Azul Tequila and Siembra Metl Mezcal. A special dinner at Oakland’s Calavera on Monday, a happy hour at Loló Tuesday, and a training and talk at ABV Wednesday. A whirlwind of activity for sure.
So what’s on Suro’s mind these days? Read more
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.
I missed this in all the Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle rush but this past November, November 11 to be exact, mezcal celebrated the 21st year of its Denominación de Origen which means it can now drink its own supply. Here’s the official announcement courtesy of a tipster.
A 21 AÑOS DE LA PROTECCIÓN A LA DENOMINACIÓN MEZCAL 2015
If ever there were a book for our time, this is it. Sarah Bowen has really captured a moment and set of issues with Divided Spirits: Tequila, mezcal, and the politics of production. With the new NOM proposal dropping over Thanksgiving along with its béte noir 199 the recent history and investigation into what makes the tequila and mezcal industries tick in Divided Spirits will bring you right up to speed. We’re at this moment in time when big tequila remains incredibly popular, mezcal is a newcomer, and indie tequilas are proving just what artisans can do with blue agave. But the margins and growth are all on mezcal and indie tequila’s side, consumers want distinctive drinks that at least have a story, ideally one that’s true. You see the same trend everywhere, it’s what drove major brewers to purchase major beer indies like Lagunitas and Ballast Point late last year and what drove Patrón to create Roca.
How did we get here? It’s pretty simple: While tequila grew by leaps and bounds as an incredible export through the post war era it really took Patrón and its followers in the 80’s to establish tequila as something with its own unique coolness factor. That led to enormous demand for tequila; to sip it, shoot it, mix it in cocktails. Hell, Robert Towne, who wrote Chinatown among many other classic movies, even titled his 1988 film Tequila Sunrise in the midst of this boom. Soon enough tequila was stocked in every bar worth its salt while tequila bars proliferated and the margarita became the most popular cocktail in the United States, if not the world. That much demand meant enormous production which, in the inexorable capitalist logic to these things, led to the complete industrialization of tequila. The bottles, dollars, land, agaves, and everything involved in this story are staggering. But it all meant one thing, what was once a dynamic and original spirit had become sadly commodified.
The CRM doesn’t have a way to publicly comment on the recent release of NOM 70 so we’ve created this Change.org petition to express support for it. As you’ll see it’s most textly from our earlier blog post on the issue. We support 70 because it achieves most of the goals that the mezcal world, from small palenqueros to global consumers, have articulated over the past three years during the drafting and discussion process. Here is Hipocrates’ letter introducing it. Here is the full text of the proposal. So, definitely sign the petition and we’ll pass the results onto Hipocrates Nolasco, head of the CRM. It’s really important that you sign it so don’t be shy and distribute it far and wide on FaceBook, email, Twitter, and in your bar side conversations.
Amidst all the holiday and family activities I also had the opportunity to attend a palenque christening in Sola de Vega, Oaxaca – a new venture from Don Luis Mendez in addition to his cultivation of silvestres project previously discussed here. He and four other men from Sola de Vega have restored an old palenque – with careful attention to all the details and traditional roots.
There’s nothing quite like an unexpected news dump on Thanksgiving that took more than a couple of days to bubble up into the public view.
David Suro first flagged the release of heretofore unheard of NOM 199 which seems to be some sort of bastard child of the failed NOM 186. Clayton Szczech, who has done great work covering the evolution of the NOM in Mexico, has a great synopsis and preliminary thoughts of the document and implications for mezcal: Read more