Entrepreneurs who want to be the ‘Amazon’ of Mezcales

The social entrepreneurship platform ‘Aventureros del Mezcal’, wants mezcal Maestros to have a fair price for the product.

Oaxaca, Mexico.- Mezcal stopped being a local or unknown drink to become one of the most successful consumer trends of recent years, in Mexico, as well as internationally.

Before the boom of the mezcal, a group of entrepreneurs created the platform of social entrepreneurship “Adventurers of the Mezcal” , who work hand in hand with producers in Oaxaca and thus, have a fair price.

Photo: Arturo Luna / Entrepreneur in Spanish

The group carries out the costing of each stage of the mescal production process, so that it establishes a sale price that generates profits, and thus can preserve its artisanal production and its quality.

“We started with our website, which seeks to bring consumers closer to the producer. A fair payment and a quality product “, says Cynthia Ruiz Villalobos, Project Director of Adventurers of Mezcal in an interview with Entrepreneur en Español.

Knowing the process

To learn about the process of social entrepreneurs, we moved to San Baltazar Chichicapam in the municipality of Ocotlán, Oaxaca, where we interviewed the mezcal teacher Marcela Luis Santiago, who has been working since the time of her childhood and who is now the breadwinner of her family. .

In Oaxaca, the Mezcal Region has been delimited in the 131 municipalities that cover the districts of Sola de Vega, Miahuatlan, Yautepec, Tlacolula, Ocotlan, Ejutla, and Zimatlan. According to the state government, there are about 1250 mezcal producers and more than 4,000 are maguey producers.

Photo: Arturo Luna / Entrepreneur in Spanish

Mezcal is the working tool for this Oaxacan family, hence the importance of having their product paid well. The costing carried out by Adventurers of the Mezcal showed that they had losses of 40%.

Between the ton of maguey of sprat that is worth from 8 to 10 thousand pesos, the purchase of firewood, the payment to the waiters (workers), rent of cars and the packaging, the family spent 30 thousand for a production and the cost of its bottle they gave in 150 pesos, when in fact they should sell it in 285. There the loss of money.

“Two years ago we thought about leaving the mezcal, we had a lot, but the sales were very bad. My husband had to go to work in another place for six months, we did not have the expense. After seeing that the harvest was spoiling, I had to ask my husband to return, even if the sales went bad, “he said in an interview.

Teamwork

In order for the producer to know what species of wild agave exists in his community, Adventurers of the Mezcal works with civil engineers and food engineers to do studies and give them to the mezcal masters and in turn, they learn the three methods of reproduction that can be applied in the agaves.

“We carry out the advising in the whole mezcal certification process, in order to reduce the investment expenses of the producer, meet the requirements and successfully complete the process of certified lots ready for commercialization,” says Cynthia Ruiz.

Social entrepreneurs identified three limitations for the continuity of the commercialization of artisan mezcal:

  1. Increased demand for agave species, putting the conservation of endemic maguey species in Oaxaca at risk.

2. The producer must certify his mezcal if he wishes to enter the marketing chain, it must be evaluated by the CRM (Mezcal AC Quality Control Board) and must comply with NOM-070-SCFI-2016.

Thus, these social entrepreneurs carry out the commercialization of mezcal labeled with the data of the mezcal family and the elaboration process, production costing, advising on the mezcal certification and work in the reproduction of agaves, for which the mezcalero master has the backup of your product.

 

Photo: Arturo Luna / Entrepreneur in Spanish

The platform seeks that in 2 years, 30 mezcal producers will be positioned in the market with brand and certification to increase the income of these families producing mezcal.

Currently collaborating with Marcela Luis Santiago ; the mezcalero maestro Alberto Martínez of Santa Catarina Albarradas, Tlacoula; the mezcalero master Francisco García of Santa Catarina Minas, Ocotlán and with a Cooperative formed by 20 producers in Sola de Vega.

Marcela trusts that artisanal mezcal has a fair price in the market so that the mezcal tradition in Oaxaca never ends.

Source; Entrepreneur, AventurerosMezcal

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