Mezcal Experience and the Liquid Culture of Mexico

In the last few years, mezcal has awakened the interest of thousands of people, the consumption and appreciation of this spirit have multiplied. Each day more Mexicans consume mezcal and more people in the world can enjoy the liquid in the 68 countries to which mezcal is currently exported.

Mezcal Experience and the Liquid Culture of Mexico
Visit Michoacán and try some mezcal. Photo by Nahima Aparicio / Unsplash

In recent years, mezcal has awakened the interest of thousands of people, and the consumption and appreciation of this spirit have multiplied. Every day more Mexicans consume mezcal and more people around the world can enjoy the Liquid Culture of Mexico in the 68 countries to which mezcal is currently exported.

At the same time, interest in learning more about the magic of this distillate is increasing thanks to the decision to revalue the artisanal work of each producer and to make transparent the processes of a distillate that is linked to the history of Mexico, every day there is more information about what is mezcal, what is mezcal, the regional processes, the types and categories of mezcal and the places where it is produced, thus generating interest in the consumer to learn more about each of the characteristics of this distillate.

The history, the processes, the maguey, the characters, everything that surrounds mezcal is magic, today many people are not only interested in the information in books, magazines, or the internet. Every day there are more and more people who want to live the experience of stepping on mezcal lands. To enjoy the Maguey fields and marvel at the terroir, the diversity of the plants, and the long and difficult process to elaborate Mezcal. For several years it has been common to see local and international tourists in different mezcal communities, and families who plan their trips to Mexico just to get to know the virtues of Mezcal up close.

The vast majority of mezcal-producing communities are located in rural areas, often of great social marginalization. But at the same time rich in history, tradition, and culture, for these communities, there are not many development opportunities, and fieldwork and mezcal are what mainly generate income for the families. It is there, where mezcal has found its shelter, to be able to share with the world the history, tradition, and culture of each people.

It is for this reason that the tourism experience in the mezcal communities in a responsible way is an excellent option to continue contributing to the development of these communities. Today, after many years of maintaining the mezcal work only for tradition, cultural heritage, patron saint and social festivities, and local consumption. mezcal is bearing fruit for many producers, who have managed to provide for their families and have even put a stop to the migration of their young people by being able to offer them increasingly better-paying jobs. By maintaining its artisanal processes, mezcal is a great source of employment, as many hands are needed to produce a single batch.

More and more people want to experience the mezcal lands, enjoy the maguey fields, and marvel at the terroir.
More and more people want to experience the mezcal lands, enjoy the maguey fields, and marvel at the terroir. Photo by Eddi Aguirre / Unsplash

But the road has not been easy. The Denomination of Origin Mezcal and the organization of Magueyeros, Mezcaleros, Bottlers, Marketers, and all mezcal enthusiasts have been fundamental for the development of the category and also for the development of the producing communities. The natural wealth, history, gastronomy, and culture make the mezcal communities a great tourist destination for those people who seek to venture and live the experience that mezcal generates in their communities.

Mexico is an important tourist destination worldwide. The Mezcal producing states alone are attractive to tourists; Oaxaca, Puebla, Guerrero, Michoacán, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, and Tamaulipas. Each state has unique characteristics that attract national and international tourism: beaches, colonial cities, gastronomy, architecture, history, culture, and biodiversity.

Many mezcal producers have upgraded their facilities to offer better amenities to visitors, and locals are preparing to continue attracting tourism.

Mezcal tourism generates more development opportunities for communities, their artisans, cooks, and any person providing tourist services. Many mezcal producers have improved their facilities to offer better amenities to visitors. Villagers are preparing and beautifying their communities to continue attracting tourism, which together with maguey and mezcal can continue to generate income and opportunities for rural development.

Producers started a more than three years ago a project called "The Michoacán Mezcal Route". The members of the Union, in coordination with the mezcal Regulatory Council and authorities of the state of Michoacán, have invested time, effort, and money to create this tourist route in different communities of the municipalities that make up the Denomination of Origin Mezcal in this state.

In a short time, they have managed to consolidate the Michoacán Mezcal Route, working hand in hand with municipal authorities, Michoacán mezcal ambassadors, and the producers themselves, who have been concerned about professionalizing their tourist services, as well as refurbishing, maintaining, and improving the facilities and services of the places visited on the Michoacán Mezcal Route.

The producers have improved their "Vinatas" (the place where mezcal is produced), and together they have launched signposts that guide the tourist from the city of Morelia to one of the destinations offered by the Route. The towns are organized to welcome visitors and offer them a unique experience. They have implemented horseback riding, cultural concerts, and gastronomy, and even built cabins where visitors can stay and zip lines for those looking for even more adventures.

An agave field located just outside of Tequila, Mexico.
An agave field located just outside of Tequila, Mexico. Photo by Dylan Freedom / Unsplash

To offer even greater guarantees to visitors, the producers themselves have applied to the Mezcal Regulatory Council for certification of their product, and a scholarship for artisanal producers. Regional marketers and producers can sell packaged and labeled mezcal to protect the authenticity and quality of their work. Various training has also been carried out both in the factory to improve processes and in the field to protect the raw material and guarantee the future of mezcal.

The Union of Mezcaleros of Michoacán has established guided outings every weekend to a specific community, where they prepare different events, both gastronomic and cultural. The process is explained by the master mezcaleros ("mezcal masters") of the community and visitors also have the opportunity to cut their maguey. The above is aboard the "Mezcal Movil", a unit that the Mezcaleros Union has to provide mobility to visitors, which also has a ramp to include tourists with disabilities.

At this time, with the resumption of tourism activities in the state of Michoacán, the Mezcal Union is working even harder to resume its activities, complying with all the regulations established to ensure the health of passengers. Activities such as those carried out in the state of Michoacán help the development and recognition of mezcal, in addition to the already existing ones such as gastronomic tourist routes, mezcal fairs, etc.

Your visit helps to respect and preserve the traditions of each artisan maker of mezcal and gives value to their work, to generate welfare in all mezcal communities of Mexico.