When we first met Arturo Palencia, co-founder of the award winning Mestizo Mezcal, we were struck by his boyish charm and seemingly tender age. We were surprised to discover that this thirty-something was no newcomer to the competitive and often brutal spirits industry.
In this clip, Arturo tells how he became involved with mezcal and the surprising birth of Mestizo.
What’s In A Name?
According to Wikipedia, the term mestizo refers to a person of combined heritage, usually European (Spanish) and indigenous peoples of the Americas. The term was later used as a racial category during the Spanish Empire’s control of its colonies.
During that colonial period, mestizos became the dominant race in many Spanish speaking countries in Latin America, including Mexico.
Today, Hispanic or Latino is the more appropriate term, but for Arturo the meaning of mestizo for his mezcal is much more poetic and thoughtful.
A Formal Introduction
Arturo and co-founder, Jessica Rosman, spent countless hours journeying throughout the mezcal producing regions of Mexico in search of the perfect single village, settling on Santiago Matatlán, Oaxaca.
In this taped portion, Arturo introduces us to his 4th generation maestro mezcalero and his nearly 300 years of tradition.
With more brands popping up at an alarming rate in the current booming mezcal market, Arturo discusses Mestizo’s process in gauging its target audience that is looking for a more palatable mezcal.
Does This Donkey Make My Ass Look Fat?
As a college student in the mid-2000s, Arturo was actively involved in the initial launching of the infamous Fat Ass Tequila.
Produced as an old style tequila in a hand blown bottle, and marketed to the Spring Breakers that invade Cancún and Cabo San Lucas, it became wildly popular with both connoisseurs and young people, winning numerous awards along the way.
Then, it virtually disappeared from store shelves.
Here, Arturo describes what it was like to be on the ground floor of this provocative brand.
Words like artisanal or handcrafted are loosely bandied about in the spirits industry these days. But, whether as a young college student helping friends launch their tequila brand, or today, plotting Mestizo’s success, Arturo Palencia’s focus hasn’t changed–
To bring to market a high quality spirit while preserving its tradition. In Mestizo’s case, maintaining consistency and promoting sustainability also go hand-in-hand.
In this snippet, Arturo reveals how Mestizo does both by their unique barrel aging process.
Like the name illustrates, Mestizo Mezcal has centuries of pedigree, and from Arturo Palencia’s point of view, the future promises to hold true to its roots.
(cheers and good health in Zapotec)