14 May 2016

Mexico's mezcal muddle

From This Way Up, 1:10 pm on 14 May 2016

The Mexican spirit mezcal has a long tradition of being distilled in small batches by family-run outfits using home stills.

Perhaps because of these humble origins, for a long time mezcal was viewed as the poorer cousin of tequila.

Mezcal Production

Mezcal Production Photo: (Flickr user Ross Bowling CC BY 2.0)

But a recent surge in interest in all things artisanal, hand-crafted and locally produced means that mezcal's smoky, distinctive taste is appealing to a rapidly growing audience both at home and overseas.

Now under rules being considered by the Mexican government, many family mezcal producers could be forced out of business, having to relabel their products so as not to use the mezcal name.

David Agren lives in Mexico City and has been to visit some small-scale mezcal producers whose livelihoods are under threat.

Mezcal potosino

Mezcal potosino Photo: (Flickr user Eneas de Troya CC BY 2.0)