Erstwhile Mezcal

  • Oaxaca, Mexico

A mission-driven, social impact-driven company, Erstwhile is a boutique agave spirits importer based in Brooklyn, New York. Our mission: advocate for small, independent, family-owned producers who lack representation outside their local communities in Mexico; and bring their craft to mezcal lovers in international markets for the first time.

We work closely with our partner producers and set them up for success. No haggling. No exclusivity contracts.

We guide producers through the complicated steps to export in their own names for the first time, and cover necessary expenses including local attorneys, accountants, license fees, and more. We absorb our producers’ marketing and supply chain costs as our own.

We believe in autonomy for producers, be it hiring their own workers or using their own bottling facility. We only step in if they want our help. We connect our partner producers to share knowledge and help each other in production.

Revenue from every Erstwhile bottle sold creates jobs in our partner producers’ and vendors’ local communities in Mexico. Our producers hire their own team of local men and women, on their own terms.

Erstwhile is a woman-owned, women-led business. Our team is multicultural and multilingual. We are outspoken about elevating underrepresented voices in Mezcal and our industry.

 

 

THE MEZCALEROS

Epifania Gómez Mejía & Silverio García Luis Three-generation Mezcal family of Zapotec heritage, based in Rancho Blanco Güilá, Oaxaca. Epifania did not grow up in a Mezcal family, but learned the ropes and became a master distiller of her own right. She was recognized as a Woman in Mezcal by the Mezcal Regulatory Council (CRM) in Mexico in 2020. Silverio’s father, renowned master mezcalero Lorenzo Antonio García, was recognized as a Cultural Treasure of Mezcal by the CRM in 2016 – a rare honor reserved for the few masters who have preserved the virtuosity of artisanal mezcal production for at least 60 years.

Juan Abel Quiroz Agustín Born and raised in Santa María Sola where he still resides, Abel saved for years before achieving the dream of building his own palenque next to his house. He has proudly run his own palenque since around 2009. Santa María Sola is a municipality in the district of Sola de Vega, in the Sierra Sur region of Oaxaca. Following the tradition of Sola de Vega, Abel distills exclusively with clay pots and makes some of the most unforgettable ancestral mezcal expressions we know.

Hortensia Hernández Martínez A master distiller of Zapotec heritage from a five-generation Mezcal family, Hortensia heads her women-owned, women-led family distillery in Santiago Matatlán, Oaxaca. She and her daughters have taken the reins of the family business, bringing their own aesthetics and business acumen after the tragic passing of Hortensia’s husband - the late master mezcalero Juan Hernández Méndez - in 2020.

Lucas García Family Nine-generation Mezcal family from San Isidro Guishe in the southern highlands of Oaxaca. Of all Erstwhile partner producers, the Lucas García family is perhaps the most focused on legacy: looking beyond the present day, focusing on sustainability, and passing on the family’s collective knowledge and traditions to future generations. José and Clara are the patriarch and matriarch. Their sons Mario and Chano head the family distillery. Grandson Diego, the 9th generation, joined the family business after graduating from college.

How Rain Affects Mezcal Production
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The Lucas Garcia Family: 9-Generation Mezcal Family from San Isidro Guishe, Oaxaca
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On the road to the Erstwhile fields in the Maestro's Truck
Image Producer PRODUCT Description Country / Region

DB3719-NV
Erstwhile Mezcal Espadín
NV
Distilled by Silverio García and Epifania Gómez in Rancho Blanco Güilá, Oaxaca. Ripe agaves are roasted for days in earthen oven. Fermented... Mexico

DB3743-NV
Erstwhile Mezcal Cucharillo Sotol (2021 Limited Edition)
NV
Wild Sotol plants harvested in Oaxaca’s southern highlands, from the Lucas García family’s own estate in San Isidro Guishe. Cucharillo is... Mexico

DB3732-NV
Erstwhile Mezcal Espadin (2021 Ancestral Limited Edition)
NV
Only 200-300 liters made. These three Erstwhile 2021 Ancestral Limited Releases mark master distiller Juan Abel Quiroz Agustín’s debut in... Mexico

DB1002-NV
Sustainable
Erstwhile Mezcal Arroqueño
NV
Ensamble
Distilled by Juan Hernández Méndez; fermented naturally in open-top wood vats and distilled in a copper alembic still. Perfumed, with notes...
Mexico

DB3733-NV
Erstwhile Mezcal Tobalá (2021 Ancestral Limited Edition)
NV
Only 200-300 liters made. These three Erstwhile 2021 Ancestral Limited Releases mark master distiller Juan Abel Quiroz Agustín’s debut in... Mexico

DB3734-NV
Erstwhile Mezcal Arroqueño/Espadin Ensamble (2021 Ancestral Limited Edition)on
NV
Only 200-300 liters made. These three Erstwhile 2021 Ancestral Limited Releases mark master distiller Juan Abel Quiroz Agustín’s debut in... Mexico

DB3741-NV
Erstwhile Mezcal Madre Cuishe (2021 Ancestral Limited Edition)
NV
A legacy of the era when Mezcal production was illegal in Oaxaca, these two Erstwhile 2021 Ancestral Limited Releases rescue a García... Mexico

DB3739-NV
Erstwhile Mezcal Tepeztate (2021 Ancestral Limited Edition)
NV
A legacy of the era when Mezcal production was illegal in Oaxaca, these two Erstwhile 2021 Ancestral Limited Releases rescue a García... Mexico

DB1005-NV
Sustainable
Erstwhile Mezcal Tepeztate-Tobalá Ensamble
NV
Ensamble
Distilled by Juan Hernández Méndez; fermented naturally in open-top wood vats and distilled in a copper alembic still. A blend of 50%...
Mexico

DB3745-NV
Erstwhile Mezcal Bacon Pechuga (2021 Limited Edition)
NV
Must-have for any serious Mezcal collector. Only 300 liters made. The world’s first Bacon Pechuga Mezcal is an ALL-WOMEN COLLABORATION... Mexico

DB1004-NV
Sustainable
Erstwhile Mezcal Tobalá
NV
Ensamble
Distilled by Juan Hernández Méndez; fermented naturally in open-top wood vats and distilled in a copper alembic still. Banana, cooked...
Mexico