17 Responses

  1. Ron Cooper at |

    John and Susan, Thanks for your stories and balanced opinions.

    All who commented respect and appreciation for your personal points of view.

    Please allow me to post and share here my public statement regarding our family point of view.

    Dear Mezcal Family,
    Our team wishes to thank each and every one of you for helping us share and protect this ritual beverage for the last twenty-two years. And we look forward to continuing together, supporting this mission for many years to come.

    I have received many inquiries and offers for investment into Del Maguey, but I have always said no thank you. We did not believe that anyone could ever completely understand, appreciate, or fully buy into our mission to preserve this culture, and to protect the ancient process of making Mezcal, and the indigenous artisan palenqueros that craft this elixir, or to embrace and appreciate their incredible liquid art …until now. Indeed, finally, after 22 years, we have found a true partner. A partner that understands exactly what Del Maguey is, a partner that wants Del Maguey to continue to be exactly who we have always been.

    That partner is Pernod Ricard. After almost a year of getting to know one another, we have agreed to a partnership that will make Pernod Ricard a majority stakeholder in Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal. We will become part of the New Brand Ventures Division, a small group of entrepreneurial craft spirits companies.

    It is important for each of you to know that the team at Del Maguey will remain intact. This includes all of our team in Mexico and the United States. And we will continue to operate Del Maguey as we always have. The liquid art of our palenqueros will not change. The only thing that changes is the increased opportunities for our families, and for our company.

    I am personally pleased that we will continue to be the same. Perhaps most important to us, is that each of our palenqueros, each of the 12 families in 12 villages that work with us and that we support, some of whom have been with us from the beginning, none of whom have ever left us, will continue to be assured that they will be able to craft their liquid art in the exact same way that they have for generations. With the support of our new partners there is a sustainable future for their families and their communities.

    We all want to acknowledge our friends at Sazerac for helping us to get to this point, by offering us the opportunity to be imported and distributed nationally, and we wish to thank them for several years of hard work helping us to build the Mezcal category. We continue to have great respect and admiration for the Sazerac family.

    That said, we are honored to take our place as a key member of Pernod Ricard’s portfolio of premium spirits, and we are eager to work closely with them to continue Del Maguey’s incredible culture. We have seen firsthand their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility globally, and locally in Oaxaca, as they worked to increase the well-being of the community of Santa Ana del Rio and embraced and honored the local customs and traditions. We are confident that we are aligned, and that now, after 22 years, Del Maguey has found a likeminded partner committed to helping us to preserve this culture and ancient process, and support these amazing indigenous people, while helping us to continue to bring their liquid art to the world.

    Stigibeu,

    Reply
  2. Taylor Samuels at |

    When PR brought my families distillery into their fold it was generally a positive experience. It allowed Maker’s Mark access to a distribution network that my father, Bill Samuels jr, used of to grow Maker’s into the global brand it is today. He was able to grow production without sacrificing the esthetics of the distillery, the taste of the Whisky and MM remained the highest paying employer and tax payer in the county. I believe this is the best opportunity for Del Maguey to flourish and become a global and responsible ambassador for Mezcal.

    Reply
  3. J Frost at |

    So well written as usual!!! I only remember these by the label! Can you add a link to the bottom so that your readers can easily share your thoughts on social media?

    Reply
  4. Bruce Turbeville at |

    One of the things I’ve heard time and again from distillers, whether in Ireland, Scotland or Kentucky, is that big corporate brass don’t always fully understand artisanal and hand-crafted spirits or the slow, methodical nature of their creation. These criticisms, more often than not, are directed at Japanese companies, but the big Euro giants probably get their fair share. Sooner or later, the company bean counters start pushing their spreadsheets, charts and graphs; and efficiency experts want things speeded up and more voluminous. I enjoy Mezcal daily, and I really hope that this doesn’t become an industry standard.

    Reply
  5. Mauricio at |

    Hola, first of all thanks for all you have done and you are still doing in regards to the Mezcal category of spirits. Your book is inspirational and full of useful information. Now, as bar manager/bartender in Australia, big fan of Artisanal Agave Spirits and fully against the operations of big corporations (from fast food chains to giants of spirits industry), I must confess I was disappointed at first when I saw the news about Pernod Ricard and Del Maguey. I have no doubt in saying Del Maguey Tobala is the liquid that ever touched my mouth that makes me happier. My favourite drink in the whole entire world. Then I was heart broken with the news. Then you came with all this info and made me think a bit more, consider some other aspects and try to understand why they have done what they have done. Anyway, I am still not sure what’s going to happen with Del Maguey and Mezcal category as whole and I am still a bit concerned. But at least I can now see a light and still sit and sip my Vino de Mezcal… God bless Mexico!
    P.S. I think you should include our bar in the Mezcal Joints list. We stock a solid range of Del Maguey, El Jolgorio, Nuestra Soledad, Alipus, Leyenda, Los Danzantes and other.
    Stigibeu, Mauricio

    Reply
  6. Bret at |

    At least regarding Mexico and sustainability, your capitalism and social optimism are at odds. Even laws with teeth aren’t enforced against those with power/money. Maybe there’s no guarantee mezcal will become a disaster of tequila proportions, but caution, at the least, is more than justified. Also in terms of diversity for the consumer, the beer industry has shown us that monopolistic forces are more than happy to buy up challengers if it helps undermine smaller, regional producers, and minimize “disruption” to the status quo.

    Reply
  7. susan coss at |

    Nice commentary as always and thanks for the Mezcalistas shout out. I too am an optimist and think there is room for all. The much maligned (and for the most part deservedly so says the mezcal biased one) tequila industry is showing that there is a market for mass and traditional tequila. The bat project alone is reason to have hope. But, it will certainly require diligence on our part to push brands to produce high quality, and as much as possible, sustainable mezcals.

    Reply
  8. David at |

    There is no way for true artisanal Mezcal production to keep up with demand. Even a small shift in Tequila consumption to Mezcal worldwide will wipe out the wild Agave stocks used to produce these “limited Edition” premium bottles. It’s just the nature of harvesting a wildcrafted product and attempting to go mass market with it. Increasing demand will kill it off quicker than collapse of the polinators required to keep the plants growing. Next step is 100% cultivated Mezcal sold as something else entirely. It’s a done deal, Mezcal’s popularity will destroy it.

    Reply

Post Comment