With the burgeoning mezcal trend in full bloom throughout the world, a new kind of Boss Lady has also emerged.
One who is not only willing to navigate the big business of spirits brand ownership, but is also courageous enough to nurture the delicate balance between successfully marketing her own mezcal and preserving a way of life.
Karla Amtmann is one such leader. A relative newcomer to the mezcal industry, she shares a passion for all agave spirits that began in her native Mexico City.
Believing that, “drinking mezcal evokes a deeper connection with the earth,” and “connects me with my heritage and the history of my family and culture of Mexico,” she has triumphantly spearheaded the crowdfunding of her own Santo Diablo mezcal.
Similar to our Women In the Tequila Industry articles, here, she launches our Women In the Mezcal Industry series with her thoughts on our customary handful of questions, along with additional views on the romance of mezcal.
TA: How would you describe your experiences as a woman in a primarily male dominated industry?
KA: There are many men in the spirits industry, but I truly haven’t really thought about it that way.
Yes, I am a woman in a man’s profession but in today’s world, I honestly don’t think it has anything to do with gender but more of one’s passion.
The women I know that are working in the industry have also been able to gain the respect of everyone in the field. It is inspiring to see smart, capable people in fields that take charge and exhibit their passion.
Just as in any industry, loving what you do and working hard will bring success.
TA: How have you been able to change things within the mezcal industry?
KA: It has been hard because often I am not taken seriously. As many women experience, there is the question of whether to play up to feminine strengths or emphasize more male associated traits.
I have strived to combine the two, which, once again, ultimately highlights the passion that I truly have about Mezcal. There are some challenging moments, but you just work through it and keep going.
TA: What do you see as the future of woman working within the mezcal industry?
KA: As a woman, being the face of a spirit is powerful and intriguing. I feel that men in the industry are starting to see how the passion of a woman really represents the sexiness of Mezcal.
I think a woman is very much how I describe mezcal.
It is up to us to keep the family and the tradition together. It is our job to care for it–to make it grow like we grow our own children, with dedication and responsibility.
KA: We must put more plants into the ground than are currently being taken out, and very importantly, sharing profits of the brand to the real producers of the mezcal by helping them grow.
After all, the brand growing is them having the secret recipe.
TA: Do you approve of how mezcal brands are currently marketing themselves?
KA: I think right now, all the new owners of Mezcal want to come to the United States and are just focused on taking over the market and I don’t think that’s the right way to go.
There needs to be some sort of united front, where we as Mezcaleros educate consumers on what Mezcal actually is, its history and its magic as opposed to just focusing on one’s own brand.
Mezcal is like wine: different regions, different earths, different climates, different agaves which impacts the mezcal flavors. There are an infinite number of flavors that will suit each palate.
Our responsibility comes first to Mezcal then to our brand. If you don’t respect Mezcal, Mezcal won’t respect you.
KA: Go for it!!! I am living proof that with perseverance anything is possible. If one is passionate about Mezcal (and what’s not to be passionate about!), then any woman will be successful!
I see the future of the industry as having more heart, more passion…just like every woman has!
I think I’m proving fact that a young woman can perform on the same level as the big boys, always knowing to control what I can control and following my instincts.
Cheers to the magic of Mezcal!
To taste Mezcal is to taste a unique individuality with every glass and every sip. No two Mezcals are alike; the perfect Mezcal requires just the right combination of fresh agave, authentic culture, and a dash of magic.
You can find it hiding within the rugged mountains, living amongst the native groups who are committed to preserving its ancestral traditions while they watch others around them let the jewels of their culture fade into distant memories.
A true Mezcal is one of those jewels.
It is the hills, it is the palenques, it is the isolated villages still holding on to what brings them closer to who they know they really are.
It is the sun shining down on our face, a consistency of time, and it is the collective passion of a culture dedicated to preserving its inner spirit.
This spirit gets whispered and passed along with every sip of Mezcal.
The story has been passed down in Mexico for over 24 centuries. With Santo Diablo, we are committed to sharing it, and the spirit of Mexico, with the rest of the world.