Mezcal Production in Oaxaca – More Mezcal is on the Way! by Alvin Starkman

The Maturation of Palenques and Mezcal Production in Oaxaca, 2015: Migration, Certification, Expansion    Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D. Every two weeks or so I’m asked about the change in the number  of artisanal mezcal distilleries, or palenques, in and around the central valleys of Oaxaca, given the dramatic rise in the spirit’s global popularity over … Read moreMezcal Production in Oaxaca – More Mezcal is on the Way! by Alvin Starkman

Mezcalaria, The Cult of Mezcal: Book Review by Alvin Starkman

Mezcalaria,The Cult of Mezcal:  Book Review By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D. Mezcalaria, Cultura del Mezcal, The Cult of Mezcal (Farolito ediciones, 2012) is the third edition, first bilingual (English-Spanish), of the seminal 2000 publication by author Ulises Torrentera.  The book is highly opinionated on the one hand, yet on the other contains a wealth of … Read moreMezcalaria, The Cult of Mezcal: Book Review by Alvin Starkman

Mezcal Industry Carpetbaggers and Scoundrels

By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D. ¨Heroes and Villains, Just see what you’ve done” was the refrain of the 1967 The Beach Boys song. Now while I’m neither, though some might disagree, Mexico’s burgeoning mezcal business contains representatives of both; too many of the latter.  But even one person is more than we want, especially since … Read moreMezcal Industry Carpetbaggers and Scoundrels

מסקל Kosher Mezcal from Oaxaca, Mexico: Kashrut or Canard

By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D. How Far Does Kosher Go? A palenquero in a Oaxacan field is harvesting agave espadín destined to be distilled into kosher mezcal. He comes across a rattler or coral snake.  Can he kill the snake with the machete he is using to cut the pencas off the maguey?  I’m far … Read moreמסקל Kosher Mezcal from Oaxaca, Mexico: Kashrut or Canard

Adulteration and Bastardization of Traditional Mezcal in Oaxaca

Buying Mezcal From Oaxaca: Exercise Due Diligence & Beware of Misrepresentation By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D. If you like it, and you think it’s decent value, then buy it. This is not a treatise on being critical of market changes in the promotion and sale of what at face value may appear to be traditionally made … Read moreAdulteration and Bastardization of Traditional Mezcal in Oaxaca

Mezcal’s High Tide Raising Economy in Oaxaca

By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D. On a recent warm, sunny afternoon, for the first time that I can recall, there was a lineup leading outside the front door at CATOSA bottle distributor in the Oaxaca city suburb of Los Volcanes. Everyone was waiting to place orders for bottles destined to be filled with mezcal, the … Read moreMezcal’s High Tide Raising Economy in Oaxaca

Women in Mezcal: Traditional Roles vs. Market Assumptions

Women Making Mezcal in Oaxaca: Division of Labour between the Sexes Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D. It is inaccurate to suggest that mezcal production in the southern Mexico state of Oaxaca is by and large a man’s job or trade, and that there are very few palenqueras, that is artisanal mezcal distillers who are women. The … Read moreWomen in Mezcal: Traditional Roles vs. Market Assumptions

Ron Cooper & Del Maguey: Selling Isn’t Always Selling Out

In Support of Del Maguey Mezcal Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D. Since about autumn, 2017, there has been grumbling and boycotting by some in the bar business and others who consider themselves mezcal aficionados in the know, as a consequence of alcohol giant Pernod Ricard buying a controlling interest in Del Maguey Mezcal. Instead, these naysayers … Read moreRon Cooper & Del Maguey: Selling Isn’t Always Selling Out

Buyer Beware: Demand Responsible Mezcals

Oaxacan Mezcal Brands: Evaluate Owners, Reps & Others in the Industry By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D. The mezcal industry, in the state of Oaxaca in particular, has had its recent issues, most of which have been noted in print and through gossip networks. They’ve  come to the fore primarily in Mexico and in those American … Read moreBuyer Beware: Demand Responsible Mezcals

Artisanal Mezcal in Oaxaca 25 Years Hence: No Two Batches are Different

By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D. Not to scare the bejesus out of mezcal aficionados, but the industry must be careful as the popularity of the spirit skyrockets, so as not to lose one of its hallmarks, that is the uniqueness of every lot distilled.  We still hear and read that no two batches of (artisanal) … Read moreArtisanal Mezcal in Oaxaca 25 Years Hence: No Two Batches are Different