Mezcalero of the Month Club

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12 memberships available for the June-July edition

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Mezcalero of May 2021

Artemio García Cruz

Ensamble

Meet the Maestro of May 2021: Artemio Garcia Cruz a.k.a. Temo. Just 10 minutes further from Matatlan’s mainstrip on Highway 190 sit multiple palenques belonging to the Garcia Cruz legacy, including Artemio’s bustling place of work. Under one roof, in a space not much larger than an average living room, there’s often a horse crushing cooked agave, smoke from the still’s fire fighting to escape the roof line, the thick invisible smells of 6 day old fermented bagazo filling the air, and half a dozen people orchestrating a carefully rehearsed dance around the compact palanque. Always actively participating in the most laborious of the work is 2nd generation maestro Artemio. With a smile that radiates positive energy (and also makes you want to drink more of his hand crafted spirits), Artemio is honest, principled, easy to trust, likeable, a family man, and a bit serious but extremely light hearted and easy going.  He works with his sons and his dad, Margarito, on the palenque, making it a tri-generational operation, so long as Margarito isn’t helping out one of his other mezcalero offspring. The women of the family, including Artemio’s wife and mom, are just as active and crucial to the functionality of the overall palenque, which truly operates as a unit. Follow along this month to learn what makes Artemio’s spirits standout, his ensamble do’s and don’ts, why fermentation can’t be followed like a recipe step, and some of the history behind this family transitioning from clay pot to copper pot distillation. 

Mezcalero of April 2021

Carlos Ángulo Ríos

Chacaleño

Meet the Maestro of April 2021: Carlos Ángulo Ríos. Carlos, our first club feature to represent Durango spirits, is a third generation producer although his family took a 20 year hiatus from the craft. Now 40 years old, Carlos has made agave distillation his primary means of living since 2015, when he completed the construction of “El Platanar” and simultaneously his first nine-year-old batch of Chacaleño came to maturation. Carlos’s vinata (Durango for ‘palenque’) is located 11 hours away (14 hours with a car full of mezcal!) from Durango’s capital city in the middle of an area known as “La Quebrada”, roughly translated to “the broken area”, a well deserved nickname for this collection of aggressive cliffs and narrow valleys.  According to those who know Carlos, he is both humble and confident, energetic although a little camera shy, and while he lives isolated in the deep mountains, he remains very connected and current with the world and it’s affairs. Throughout April, we invite you to get to know Carlos, learn about his unique nameless still, why his family uses cubical underground fermentation vats, and some environmental factors that make this Chacaleño expression unlike any other

Mezcalera of March 2021

Rosario Ángeles Vázquez

Arroqueño

Meet the Maestra of March 2021: Rosario Ángeles Vasquéz. This month’s producer, in a single word, is a badass. Although she was born and raised in the extremely popular clay-pot town of Santa Catarina Minas, Rosario has no maestros of whom to follow suit with in her family.Her decision to make mezcal was completely her own, and came after leaving a career as an English teacher when she decided she preferred being out in nature more than grading papers. Despite all the controversy a first generation maestra with no experience actually making mezcal herself stirred up both within her family and the community, Rosario had her palenque built in just three months.As if being a young, inexperienced, female producer wasn’t enough adversity for the new business owner, Rosario’s first distillation happened to be timed perfectly with a pandemic! Seemingly unfazed and totally committed, Rosario has continued on and is now 10 distillations into her career. Follow along this month to learn more about the opposition Rosario has faced, the story behind her brand name and image, making mezcal from river water vs well water, and why she removes the first layer of tepache from her tinas.

Mezcalera of February 2021

Lidia Hernández Hernández

Espadín 

Being a native of Santiago Matatlán, Oaxaca, it’s no surprise that Lidia comes from a long line of mezcal producers on both her mother and her father’s side. Lidia studied law at La Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca, and since graduating in 2016 has been able to use her studies to support her family in managing the accounting, exportation, and certification of their mezcal business. This fifth generation producer’s story of how she recently also became the Maestra on her family’s palenque is a bittersweet one. The transition took place in September 2020, when Lidia’s father, Juan Hernández Méndez, passed away. While the entire family is still adjusting to life without Juan, his legacy lives on as the family continues to make mezcal in his honor using all the traditions that were passed down to him and that he passed down to Lidia and her siblings.

Mezcalero of January 2021

Juan Antonio (Toño) Coronel Maya

Cuixe

When this fifth generation producer decided to build his palenque 2,300 meters above sea level in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca, many told him it could not be done. Extreme temperatures, sloping terrain, little water and being somewhat isolated were all against him, but Toño Coronel was confident that if anyone could do it, he could… As a trained Chemical Engineer, Toño was able to build his palenque in such a way that his maguey can still ferment even when it’s freezing outside. Despite his technical background, one conversation and you’d think this maestro was a great philosopher, frequently dropping beautifully crafted one-liners about his reflections on life and why he left his job as a chemical engineer to make mezcal. Toño’s main objective is to be happy, and you can feel that he is living in true alignment with that objective when stepping onto his palenque. He is an animal lover who embraces change and loves to experiment and play with his mezcal batches because, “he is free” to do so.

Mezcalero of December 2020

Margarito López Flores

Pechuga de Mezontle

Chichihualco, Guerrero, a town previously known for hand stitching soccer balls and also the birthplace of Mexico’s 11th president, is now becoming known for its mezcal production. Margarito is a fourth generation producer here, and one of three other producers who still uses a filipino still for distillation. Margarito has a bit of a boyish way about him with a playful, competitive attitude that shows in response to any question you ask him about mezcal. Simultaneously, he is a family man, bringing his wife, son, and family dog with him to the fabrica that sits 30 minutes from their house. He places importance on conserving the traditions that began with his great-grandfather and to producing a mezcal of quality over quantity. 

Mezcalero of November 2020

Rodrigo Martínez Méndez

Pechuga

The central valley town of San Baltazar Guelavile is home to a number of mezcal producers, including the widely popular Don Goyo featured back in September of 2019. At the age of 26, Goyo’s son, Rodrigo, is following in his footsteps and quickly growing in popularity not only as a maestro but also as co-founder of the new mezcalería, La Cueva. Rodrigo is both a second generation mezcalero and fifth generation mezcalero depending on how you look at it. The first producer in his family was his great-great-grandfather who unfortunately passed away at a young age, as did his son, leaving Rodrigo’s grandfather orphaned at only age 7 and leaving behind the tradition of making mezcal. Because of the circumstances, much of the family’s original production technique was lost as well, including distilling in clay pots and fermenting in cow hide. Despite what was lost, there is no lack of creativity, craftsmanship or work ethic demonstrated by this young mezcalero as he is one of the most entrepreneurial, philanthropic, and innovative producers we’ve worked with.

Mezcalero of October 2020

Félix Hernández Ruiz

Pulquero

A third generation mezcalero from Santiago Matatlán, Félix returned to his family craft in the mid-90s after a 15 year hiatus as a pastry chef in the US. Since then, this soft-spoken, humble producer has come to sell his fresh pulque to many of the finest restaurants in Oaxaca, including El Destilado, as well as several lesser known cantinas in and beyond centro.

Mezcalero of September 2020

Abel Quiroz Agustín

Tobala

From Santa María Sola de Vega, Abel is a bit of a specialist, focusing solely on Tobala and Espadín agave cultivation and mezcal production. Proudly giving it his all to every batch, Abel thoroughly enjoys making mezcal as well as teaching young people who are interested in keeping the clay pot tradition alive. He has established himself as a local favorite, with his club feature being the very first time his mezcal has been brought state side.

Mezcalero of September 2020

Abel Quiroz Agustín

Tobala

From Santa María Sola de Vega, Abel is a bit of a specialist, focusing solely on Tobala and Espadín agave cultivation and mezcal production. Proudly giving it his all to every batch, Abel thoroughly enjoys making mezcal as well as teaching young people who are interested in keeping the clay pot tradition alive. He has established himself as a local favorite, with his club feature being the very first time his mezcal has been brought state side.

Mezcalero of July 2020

Félix Cruz Ángeles

Tobaziche

Known locally as “el gato”, Félix is a first generation maestro (although he’ll tell you that he doesn’t deserve this title) from Santa Catarina Minas. After learning to make mezcal from various producers in Minas, Félix built his own palenque at the ripe age of 19. Despite being of a younger generation, Félix has conserved all the local traditions of crushing agave by hand and distilling with clay pots. He has a fierce entrepreneurial spirit and in 5 short years has begun to establish himself amongst the many renowned producers in Minas. Félix knows the value of his work and his confidence in the mezcal he produces reflects that value.

Mezcalero of June 2020

Federico Valentín Alva Ibáñez

Ensamble: Espadilla / Tobalá

At 95 years old, Don Fede is the oldest producer (by far) featured in the club to date. This second generation mezcalero hails from San Nicolás Huajuapan, a small town about an hour and a half south of the city of Puebla. Don Fede began making mezcal at the age of 14 after his father, Leopoldo Alva, brought abandoned Spanish stills back to their village. At this time, there were less than 30 homes in San Nicolás Huajuapan, a single shared palenque, and a tradition that was only just beginning.  Today, you’ll find 10 palenques in the town with 8 of these producers being directly related to Don Fede. Ask any one of them and they’ll tell you they learned to make mezcal from the living legend himself.

Mezcalero of June 2020

Federico Valentín Alva Ibáñez

Ensamble: Espadilla / Tobalá

At 95 years old, Don Fede is the oldest producer (by far) featured in the club to date. This second generation mezcalero hails from San Nicolás Huajuapan, a small town about an hour and a half south of the city of Puebla. Don Fede began making mezcal at the age of 14 after his father, Leopoldo Alva, brought abandoned Spanish stills back to their village. At this time, there were less than 30 homes in San Nicolás Huajuapan, a single shared palenque, and a tradition that was only just beginning.  Today, you’ll find 10 palenques in the town with 8 of these producers being directly related to Don Fede. Ask any one of them and they’ll tell you they learned to make mezcal from the living legend himself.

Mezcalera of March 2020

Bertha Vasquez

Mexicano

20 minutes past the famous clay-pot town of Santa Catarina Minas, you’ll find yourself in San Baltazar Chichicapam, home to independent mezcal producer Berta Vasquez. As a single mother, grandmother, and now great grandmother, Berta plays both a traditionally female and male role within her family. Berta’s story into making mezcal is both tragic and empowering, and the loss she experienced and hardship that followed are no secret.

Berta wears her heart on her sleeve and openly shares her painful past with friends and strangers alike, making it easy to feel close to her and quickly form a close bond. At 64 years old, she lives to tell the all-too-many stories of how she struggled as a woman in a man’s world, her outlook on life and on mezcal, and her vision for the future. Unsurprisingly, she shows no signs of stopping any time soon…

Raicillero of February

Julio Topete Becerra

Maximiliana / Lechugilla

Julio grew up in rural Jalisco in a small town called Rancho Nuevo, half-way between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. Despite his exposure to the craft of making raicilla since early childhood, Julio chose to venture to the US at age 19 for the economic opportunities it offered. Julio returned to Mexico after 15 years when he became deathly ill from a Thyroid disorder in 1999. Frustrated that his medication was not helping, he began drinking Raicilla. What began as self-medication eventually turned into a personal production and is now a full blown operation.

Mezcalero of January

David Rivera Herrera

Papalometl

David lives with his parents and siblings in Santa María Ixcatlán, Oaxaca, located northwest of Oaxaca city in the Cañada region, close to the Mixteca border. A tight-knit family, they not only live together but also work together with cooperation and unity being the foundation of their personal and working relationships. Despite his being just 25 years old, David has become “the boss” with his parents and sisters while on the palenque where they continue the traditions of their ancestors crushing the agaves by hand and fermenting in cowhide. Carrying a “can-do” attitude with him both on and off the palenque, David is simultaneously young and bubbly, and also wise and insightful.

Mezcalero of December

Edgar González Ramírez

Espadín Pechuga

Edgar González Ramírez is a first generation mezcalero who grew up in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca in San Cristóbal Lachirioag. He left his home town in 2001 to head to LA as so many others from Lachirioag had done before him. With NAFTA dismantling the economy of Lachirioag since 1994, and emigration rates at an all time high, Edgar joined forces with his cousin Elisandro to discuss ways in which they could support their town and people… Today, Edgar and Elisandro have a thriving business, Mezcal Tosba.

Mezcalero of November

Felipe Cortés Venegas

Bicuixe

Felipe is a third generation mezcalero from Mengolí de Morelos, Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz, Oaxaca. His palenque sits two hours south of the city of Oaxaca. You’ll find him and his son, Ageo, working together on the palenque from January to June, and tending to the fields independently from July to December. A vast piece of land with stunning magueyes growing both cultivated and wild, Felipe and Ageo’s field sits right next to their home demonstrating just how integrated their lives are with those of the plants they care for.

Mezcalero of October

Jaime Morales Aquino

Tobala

Jaime is from Villa Hidalgo Yalalag, which sits 3 hours northeast of Oaxaca Centro in the lush Sierra Norte of Oaxaca. His Zapotec roots and customs are what appear to navigate him through life, to have shaped his values, and to guide all his decisions. With both his fermentation and distillation executed in clay, Jaime makes small batches of about 40 liters just 3 – 4 times a year. When in season, he also makes a delicious destilado de mango and de ciruela (plum), just as his ancestors did with the surplus of fruit available to them in the mountains.

Mezcalero of September

Gregorio “Don Goyo” Martínez García

Cuixe

Don Goyo is a highly respected, well known maestro within the Oaxaca mezcal community as well as in the United States. He’s been producing his own batches since 1997 and is a dependable mezcalero who prides himself on consistency. His palenque is located in San Baltazar Guelavila just a few hundred meters from where he was born.  The nearby fruit that grows on his property gives his mezcal a unique flavor, and he’ll humbly tell you that you must ask his clients if you want to know what makes him unique as a mezcalero.

Mezcalero of August

Augustin Guendulain Maya

Velato

Agustin could be described as a mezcal scientist and agave botanist. His attention to the most minute process details and his vast knowledge of the biological differences between seemingly identical species is truly remarkable. He is the 5th generation of his family to make mezcal, but he doesn’t see his work as something he does simply because he inherited it. Agustin feels he was called to make mezcal. He is most fascinated with the maguey itself, which anyone who visits his palenque can attest to, and is profoundly fulfilled by working in the field. Wary of those who make mezcal purely for money, Agustin is proud to make all his mezcal with love, patience, and care.

Mezcalero of July

Luis Enrique Juárez Ramírez

Tepextate

At only 28 years old, Luis is part of what some consider to be “the new generation” of mezcaleros who are deeply connected to their roots and the traditions they learned from the maestro generations before them, while simultaneously bringing a touch of modernity, innovation, and current issues to the mezcal world. Luis’s first mezcal sales, for example, were a result of unofficial tastings given to his friends at dental school. And his vision for the future, is to fight deforestation and the destruction of agaves and trees in Amatengo.

Mezcalero of June

Antonio Carlos Martínez

Barril

Known locally as Conejo, this third generation mezcalero from Minas is the first in his family to own his own palenque. He has 14 varietals in his tasting room, one of which is the 46.8% Barril featured in our club. Only 80 liters were produced in this batch.

Mezcalero of May

Félix Ángeles Arellanes

Tobaziche

Felix’s Tobaziche was distilled in clay pots in the town of Minas. Only 160 liters were produced in this batch which came out at 45% alc/vol. Of the roughly 150 batches Felix has made in his life, about 30 batches have been Tobaziche, one of his personal favorites. Two of his six sons helped him produce this batch back in June 2018.

Raicillero of February

Julio Topete Becerra

Maximiliana / Lechugilla

Julio grew up in rural Jalisco in a small town called Rancho Nuevo, half-way between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. Despite his exposure to the craft of making raicilla since early childhood, Julio chose to venture to the US at age 19 for the economic opportunities it offered. Julio returned to Mexico after 15 years when he became deathly ill from a Thyroid disorder in 1999. Frustrated that his medication was not helping, he began drinking Raicilla. What began as self-medication eventually turned into a personal production and is now a full blown operation.

Mezcalero of January

David Rivera Herrera

Papalometl

David lives with his parents and siblings in Santa María Ixcatlán, Oaxaca, located northwest of Oaxaca city in the Cañada region, close to the Mixteca border. A tight-knit family, they not only live together but also work together with cooperation and unity being the foundation of their personal and working relationships. Despite his being just 25 years old, David has become “the boss” with his parents and sisters while on the palenque where they continue the traditions of their ancestors crushing the agaves by hand and fermenting in cowhide. Carrying a “can-do” attitude with him both on and off the palenque, David is simultaneously young and bubbly, and also wise and insightful.

Mezcalero of December

Edgar González Ramírez

Espadín Pechuga

Edgar González Ramírez is a first generation mezcalero who grew up in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca in San Cristóbal Lachirioag. He left his home town in 2001 to head to LA as so many others from Lachirioag had done before him. With NAFTA dismantling the economy of Lachirioag since 1994, and emigration rates at an all time high, Edgar joined forces with his cousin Elisandro to discuss ways in which they could support their town and people… Today, Edgar and Elisandro have a thriving business, Mezcal Tosba.

Mezcalero of November

Felipe Cortés Venegas

Bicuixe

Felipe is a third generation mezcalero from Mengolí de Morelos, Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz, Oaxaca. His palenque sits two hours south of the city of Oaxaca. You’ll find him and his son, Ageo, working together on the palenque from January to June, and tending to the fields independently from July to December. A vast piece of land with stunning magueyes growing both cultivated and wild, Felipe and Ageo’s field sits right next to their home demonstrating just how integrated their lives are with those of the plants they care for.

Mezcalero of October

Jaime Morales Aquino

Tobala

Jaime is from Villa Hidalgo Yalalag, which sits 3 hours northeast of Oaxaca Centro in the lush Sierra Norte of Oaxaca. His Zapotec roots and customs are what appear to navigate him through life, to have shaped his values, and to guide all his decisions. With both his fermentation and distillation executed in clay, Jaime makes small batches of about 40 liters just 3 – 4 times a year. When in season, he also makes a delicious destilado de mango and de ciruela (plum), just as his ancestors did with the surplus of fruit available to them in the mountains.

Mezcalero of September

Gregorio “Don Goyo” Martínez García

Cuixe

Don Goyo is a highly respected, well known maestro within the Oaxaca mezcal community as well as in the United States. He’s been producing his own batches since 1997 and is a dependable mezcalero who prides himself on consistency. His palenque is located in San Baltazar Guelavila just a few hundred meters from where he was born.  The nearby fruit that grows on his property gives his mezcal a unique flavor, and he’ll humbly tell you that you must ask his clients if you want to know what makes him unique as a mezcalero.

Mezcalero of August

Agustin Guendulain Maya

Velato

Agustin could be described as a mezcal scientist and agave botanist. His attention to the most minute process details and his vast knowledge of the biological differences between seemingly identical species is truly remarkable. He is the 5th generation of his family to make mezcal, but he doesn’t see his work as something he does simply because he inherited it. Agustin feels he was called to make mezcal. He is most fascinated with the maguey itself, which anyone who visits his palenque can attest to, and is profoundly fulfilled by working in the field. Wary of those who make mezcal purely for money, Agustin is proud to make all his mezcal with love, patience, and care.

Mezcalero of July

Luis Enrique Juárez Ramírez

Tepextate

At only 28 years old, Luis is part of what some consider to be “the new generation” of mezcaleros who are deeply connected to their roots and the traditions they learned from the maestro generations before them, while simultaneously bringing a touch of modernity, innovation, and current issues to the mezcal world. Luis’s first mezcal sales, for example, were a result of unofficial tastings given to his friends at dental school. And his vision for the future is to fight deforestation and the destruction of agaves and trees in Amatengo.

Mezcalero of June

Antonio Carlos Martínez

Barril

Known locally as Conejo, this third generation mezcalero from Minas is the first in his family to own his own palenque. He has 14 varietals in his tasting room, one of which is the 46.8% Barril featured in our club. Only 80 liters were produced in this batch.

Mezcalero of May

Félix Ángeles Arellanes

Tobaziche

Felix’s Tobaziche was distilled in clay pots in the town of Minas. Only 160 liters were produced in this batch which came out at 45% alc/vol. Of the roughly 150 batches Felix has made in his life, about 30 batches have been Tobaziche, one of his personal favorites. Two of his six sons helped him produce this batch back in June 2018.

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HOW IT WORKS

Why not just ship monthly?

Shipping alcohol is very expensive. We want this club to be affordable and accessible.

English language for now

We hope and plan to offer this experience in Spanish in the near future, but do not have the resources to do both at this time :/ 

Por el momento, todo el contenido está en inglés o tiene subtítulos en inglés. Esperamos y planeamos ofrecer esta experiencia en español en el futuro cercano, pero no tenemos los recursos para hacer ambas cosas en este momento :/

 

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