A Guide to Getting Started with Guanajuato Mezcal

Here are compelling reasons to fall in love with Guanajuato's mezcal through these magnificent mezcal farms that are open to tourism.

A Guide to Getting Started with Guanajuato Mezcal
Mezcal cocktail. Mezcal promotes a sense of cultural identity and national pride. Photo by Nahima Aparicio / Unsplash

Agave has been part of the identity of this territory since Mesoamerican times. It has been part of the food, recreational use, the creation of pulque -the drink of the gods- and the perfection of the distillation technique to the point that in 1619 a document was published stating the need for the "Mezcal Wine" to pay a tithe due to its popularity.

In the state of Guanajuato, two municipalities enjoy the denomination of origin of mezcal: San Felipe and San Luis de la Paz, ideal sites for the cultivation of maguey due to their dry climate and large extension. There are currently around five factories in the region, which produce an estimated 150 liters per day, although some of them only operate between October and January.

These municipalities have both the human and natural requirements for the cultivation of agave and mezcal production, backed by a historical tradition generated by the great landowners of the region. And here are six powerful reasons to fall in love with Guanajuato's mezcal through these magnificent open mezcal farms and tourist activities.

Penca y Piedra mezcal plant (San Felipe)

Located in the Sierra de Vergel de Lobos, (approximately 40 minutes from the city of León), mezcal is made using the artisanal method in the palenque style of Oaxaca. Here they teach the farmers the correct way to harvest the agave, offering them the opportunity to sell it to other mezcal producers in the area.

Types of Agave: Espadín, Salmiana and Cenizo.

For tourists: Activities Tours with tasting, lodging, and food service.

Villasuso mezcal plant (San Felipe)

Located in Estación Jaral de Berrio, Mezcal Villasuso guarantees its artisanal quality: loyalty to the land, people, and customers.

Types of Agave: Salmiana.

For tourists: tasting, pairing, cooking of pineapples in ovens, grinding of pineapples in Tahona, demo fermentation, distillation in copper stills.

Vergel de Guadalupe mezcal plant (San Luis de la Paz)

Located 30 minutes from the municipal capital. Mezcal tradition since 1780, mezcal been produced rescuing the recipe of their ancestors, are represented with the high masonry oven with oak wood, mesquite, and huizache.

Types of Agave: Salmiana, Pulquero (A.Mapisaga), Parryi. This last one is characteristic of Guanajuato.

For tourists: Field tours, tastings, tour through the orchard of fruit trees, typical food, and garden rental for events.

Pozo Hondo mezcal plant (San Luis de la Paz)

It is located 20 minutes from the municipal capital. The mezcal factory opened its doors for the first time in 1980.

Types of Agave: Salmiana, Angustifolia, and Agave salmiana Crassispina.

For tourists: Guided tours, Mexican snacks, mezcal mixology, and sale of artisanal mezcal.

La Quinta mezcal plant (San Luis de la Paz)

Located 30 minutes away from the municipal capital, this mezcal has a great presence in contact with the mouth and nose. It has herbal, wild, and intense aromas with sweet traces of cooked maguey. It is slightly creamy and woody with excellent and lasting permanence in the mouth, demonstrating the care in its elaboration.

Types of Agave: Wild Salmiana.

For tourists: Tours to the countryside and mezcal factory, hiking, horseback riding, and food service.

Cuanax mezcal plant (San Luis de la Paz)

Located in the Magical Town of Mineral de Pozos, this mezcalera began with Juan Antonio Castellanos Cardon together with Diana Landin Campos, who had several attempts to promote mezcal in Guanajuato with technicians from Zacatecas, and with several years of experience, began its production at the end of 2014 in Guanajuato and San Luis Potosi.

Types of Agave: Salmiana, Americana, Espadín, Papalote and Ensambles.

For tourists: Bottle customization, distillation workshop, mezcal tasting, mezcal table, training in production and sale of mezcal, maguey field tour, production tour, tasting tours.

Mezcal in numbers

Besides San Felipe and San Luis de la Paz, 11 more municipalities are seeking to extend the appellation of origin: Atarjea, San Diego de la Unión, Comonfort, San José Iturbide, Doctor Mora, Santa Catarina, Dolores Hidalgo, Tierra Blanca, Xichú, Ocampo and Victoria.

Beyond the delights perceived by the palate, mezcal and its production are a beneficial activity for the region and have an important social impact. We share with you some numbers that will leave you smiling as if you had already "given a few kisses" to your mezcal.

Mezcal generates more than 19,000 direct jobs and more than 85,000 indirect jobs.

Mezcal has allowed migrants to return to their communities of origin by being a source of employment for men and women, fostering a rural economy where there is a lack of temporary and permanent sources of employment.

Mezcal prevents highly susceptible populations from being employed in unlawful activities and fosters the professionalization of the members and their new generations.