Don’t call it mezcal: Mexico forces artisanal producers to use a new name

5/10/2016 The Guardian

9386766538_b04baaa54b_mMiguel Ángel Partida pours an early morning slug of mezcal into a hollowed-out bull’s horn, and watches bubbles form around the rim. From the way they rise, he estimates his homemade liquor has 50% alcohol.

“If it doesn’t do this, it’s not mezcal. It’s another alcoholic beverage,” he says at his home in Mexico’s western Jalisco state.

Partida and his family have made mezcal for five generations, enduring the Mexican revolution, the Cristero rebellion and various attempts by governments – and the tequila industry – to rein in renegade mezcaleros. They even survived losing the legal right to use the name “mezcal” and are obliged to sell theirs as “agavate distillates”.

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