Lisa Pietsch is the Chief Operations Officer of Tequila Aficionado Media, a USAF veteran, a multi-published novelist and freelance writer, a social media marketing consultant, and the mother of two boys. She has a passion for good tequila, foreign languages, and travel in all forms. Lisa currently makes her home in San Antonio, Texas.
An updated NOM list combined with past brand listings and presented in alphabetical order. Electronic versions will include links to any mentions or reviews for each brand that may be found on the Tequila Aficionado website.
Subscribers to Tequila Aficionado Magazine receive the PDF download FREE with their subscription.
Bringing consumers and craft agave spirits like tequila, bacanora, mezcal, sotol and raicilla together since 1999 through www.TequilaAficionado.com and social media, Tequila Aficionado is now also available in it’s 2nd year as a print magazine!
The electronic (PDF) version is always FREE for Subscribers. Visit bit.ly/subscribeTAMag to subscribe today.
Tequila Aficionado Magazine is the ONLY direct-to-consumer magazine specifically for tequila, mezcal, sotol, bacanora and other agave spirits.
In this issue of Tequila Aficionado Magazine:
The Tequila Aficionado Media Network – A Business Incubator for Influencers and Hobbyists by Lisa Pietsch
Who’s Who in Agave Spirits – Chris Cardenas of Anger Mgmt Tequila
Our Latest Reviews
Coming Up on TequilaAficionado.com
A Diffuser-Made Tequila Category by Mike Morales
Our Tasting Team
Kosher Mezcal from Oaxaca, Mexico: Kashrut or Canard by Alvin Starkman
12th Annual San Diego Spirits Festival
How to Take the Catador Course
Who’s Who in Agave Spirits – Debbie Medina Gach – Senor Rio Tequila
“Alvin Starkman would never call himself a ‘mezcal expert’ – no, he is too humble to do so. But, in fact, he is! In his revised and expanded second edition of Mezcal in the Global Spirits Market his depth of knowledge and on-the-ground experience vividly shines through. The book focuses on how and why mezcal gains its complexity and nuance, and he brings these themes to life with incredible detail, countless first-hand accounts, and a host of scientific observations. All of this brightly illuminates the uniqueness of mezcal and why it is vastly different from any other spirit on the planet! I’ve had the good fortune of mezcal-touring with Alvin many times, and every time has been an intoxicating experience – in more ways than one. While you may never have had the pleasure of one of his Oaxacan tours, this book will practically take you there!” John McEvoy, author, Holy Smoke! It’s Mezcal!
“Spike Mafford has been a Seattle colleague since the 1980s. His photographs, shot since that era and continuing to date, of mezcaleros, their families, and all stages of production from field to finished distillate, reveal a sense of warmth and honesty. There’s a certain vulnerability displayed by his subjects which only Spike can capture. On a recent visit to Oaxaca with Spike, watching how he interacted with the villagers, and their welcoming greetings, was eye-opening. Spike’s photographs are a roadmap to the culture of rural Oaxaca, and mezcal. They impacted my decision to finally move to Mexico! I thank and salute Spike for all he has contributed, through his photography, to our knowledge of mezcal and its makers.” Bruce Robert Dugdale Photography
“Mezcal in the Global Spirits Market offers great insight into the world of mezcal and agave spirits. Alvin has spent decades working with producers in Oaxaca and this text shows the deeper understanding that he’s attained through these experiences. Alvin’s knowledge and perspective on the industry are unrivalled, and this provides an excellent background for anyone interested in learning more about mezcal.” Jonny Thompson & Tyler Tadej, founders, Mezcal Reviews
“The older I get, the smarter Alvin Starkman gets. I was once one of the ‘mezcal geeks’ he refers to, turning my nose up at wood-aged mezcals, mocking any bottle that clocked in below 45% ABV. Then the things I hear Alvin say, I started hearing from producers around Mexico — started seeing with my own eyes. Alvin writes the truth as he speaks the truth. You should go down to Oaxaca and travel with him, when you can. You should travel with him through this book in the meantime, to learn about the beauty of this complex spirit that is capturing everyone’s imagination. Alvin has captured its essence in this book.” Lou Bank, founder, S.A.C.R.E.D., and co-host, Agave Road Trip
We are pleased to present this special collector’s edition of Tequila Aficionado Magazine on the TC Craft Tequila line.
As a 2018 Tequila Aficionado Brand of Promise Winner with a Gold, Bronze and three Silver medals, we are not at all surprised to see this brand is working it’s way into the hearts of tequila aficionados across the country.
Inside this special issue, you’ll find interviews with TC Craft owners Todd and Chad Bottorff and their Master Distiller, Melly Barajas, as well as a great selection of cocktails to try with TC Craft Tequila. Of course we always recommend that you sip TC Craft straight first. Whether you choose blanco, reposado, anejo or extra anejo, this is a fine sipper!
Take your tequila education to the expert level with the Consumer Catador Course, Tasting Journal, Virtual Tasting Guide and mentorship with Mike Morales of Tequila Aficionado.
This collection includes:
Tequila Aficionado Consumer Catador Course: A comprehensive course for tequila lovers from field to glass
Tequila Aficionado Tasting Journal: A workbook and ready reference complete with 50 scoring worksheets, the definitive tequila aroma wheel in English and NOM List of tequilas in production and their distilleries
Tequila Aficionado Virtual Tasting Guide: A comprehensive guide for agave spirits brands, influencers and consumers to create and host virtual tequila tastings
More Than Tequila: Agave Spirits Around the World a new book by Mike Morales
A brief history of agave spirits fermented and distilled around the world
Agave spirits aren’t limited to Mexico’s famous Tequila and Mezcal. In fact, agave spirits are distilled around the world and have been for quite some time. In this special feature for Tequila Aficionado Magazine, Mike Morales explores the world’s agave spirits and their histories. Explore with us and learn more about the agave spirits made in Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, the United States, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Brazil.
The allegations come to the fore within the context of remarks of some mezcal commentators. They assert that “foreigners” who own brands of the agave distillate are guilty of cultural appropriation. Of course, the few are far from being the great thinkers of our generation, though they do get some traction; thankfully only from those who similarly fail to carefully if at all delve below the surface. All that can be done to combat the oft erroneous charge is to take steps to do the right thing: strike a balance between advancing one’s entrepreneurial tendencies on the one hand (if you don’t like capitalism, then move), and on the other, openly helping the mezcal brand owner’s palenquero associates, their families and their communities. One must go beyond buying mezcal for resale and having villagers bottle, label and pallet. That is not enough.
Many brand owners do indeed work towards and in fact achieve altruistic goals, but do not, I suppose to their credit, advertise what they do. Perhaps that should change if for no other reason than to keep the naysayers in their Neolithic caves.
This musing addresses primarily readers who are considering starting their own brands, and those with existing brands who may want to do a little better for their Mexican palenquero brethren. This would go a long way to quieting the holier than thou out there. But first we should all acknowledge that Mexican and foreign-owned brands should probably be lumped together. In both cases there is generally an inequality of bargaining power; think about it for a moment! Yes, the imbalance can easily be redressed, if the motivation exists.
Palenqueros are doing their part to react to the problem, if not by design then by default. They are using their new-found wealth to advance the education of their progeny through entry into university degree programs. This in turn leads to a different, more critical way of thinking, or perceiving the world and its players. Many of these young lawyers and engineers remain in the villages of their parents, assisting in whatever way they can given their new-found worldview. But that’s a baby step. Something more is needed right now since we don’t know what 20 years hence will mean for the industry. Consumers are fickle, especially in the world of alcohol.
How do the rest of us eschew the notion of exploitation? Us? Yes, even those without an ownership interest in a brand of agave distillate, but who are somehow benefiting from the mezcal boom. Here’s how, addressing both prospective and existing brand owners, and yes to some extent the rest of us:
Partner with your palenquero, rather than simply pay him per liter and for labor readying for export.
Collaborate in arriving at price paid for the juice, for bottling, and for the rest, rather than simply negotiate a price.
Bond beyond just buying. Establish a friendship which will foster greater mutual respect and help you to better understand the life challenges of the entire family. A patron/client (seller/buyer) relationship is not enough.
Set up a charitable division of your company to benefit perhaps the community of the palenquero (i.e. paving roads, building schools, etc.), or agave sustainability, or any other cause important to you such as the education of bright young indigenous women which is my personal preference.
Shed your ethnocentrism; meaning adopt a cultural relativistic way of thinking, and acting. If you’ve been schooled in the social sciences, hopefully you will have already understood that the only way to understand a culture foreign to your own, is to at least to a limited extent, live it.
It’s easy to rationalize doing nothing, and believe that you’re effecting more than enough for the industry when purchasing mezcal by the pallet or the container. And to be sure, buying a single bottle, a case of 12, or a container of 8,000, each provides a benefit. But is that enough? And certainly we’re all, through whatever means we’re involved in the industry, helping out. But is that enough? Yes – at least to the extent that I don’t want to feed into the narrative of the exploitation accusers. And what are they doing?
Giving enhances our own self-esteem. But you’re reading this not to support feeling good about what you are already doing, but to consider doing more. And of course to confidently dismiss all those who would be critical. We’ve already bolstered the self-esteem of palenqueros, arguably something very tangible. But is that enough?
Whatever you decide to undertake, consider letting the world know, even though doing so may run contrary to your best judgment regarding maintaining humility and a low profile. How else can we shout them out and proclaim “we’re doing more than enough; what are you doing?”