In El Tecomate de Siqueros, the agave is harvested, which in three years will put the south of the entity to compete worldwide, in addition to generating thousands of jobs for the region.
Paul Steven Craft was called “crazy” for investing in the planting of agave in the south of Sinaloa in search of producing mezcal, because it is an area that does not have a denomination of origin for the drink, which prevents its commercialization as such, but he was not discouraged and kept alive his project of creating a product that had the flavor of Mazatlan.
It was three years ago when the American investor began planting agave on 230 hectares at Hacienda Rincón del Cielo, in El Tecomate de Siqueros, where he implemented an irrigation system so that, instead of waiting seven years, the harvest could be brought forward to four years.
With a business vision and fully trusting in the land of Mazatlán, he began the adventure of producing a quality mezcal very different from that of other states; now the green extensions of blue agave planting located in Rincón del Cielo are a visual attraction in the region, there is also the land where a distiller is built.
His idea, in addition to producing mezcal as an industry, is to generate a benefit for the social sector, with sources of employment, but also to put the south of Sinaloa on the tourist map, with a mezcal corridor or route that encompasses the municipalities where it is planted: Mazatlan, Concordia, El Rosario, and San Ignacio.
“It is an opportunity, the popularity of tequila has grown and that of mezcal as well, and the opportunity is that many people in Sinaloa can benefit, it is not an opportunity for one, nor for two or three, but for thousands of people in Concordia, Rosario, Mazatlan, and San Ignacio. Those areas have a history with mezcal .”
Waiting for the denomination of origin to be given in the coming months, in El Tecomate de Siqueros the agave is already being harvested, which in three years will put the south of the entity to compete worldwide, in addition to generating thousands of jobs for the region . .
Craft, which employs 60 families, is about to launch its first product, which is called “El Amigo”.
They expect the industry to grow in the coming years.
For many years, the lands of the municipality of Mazatlán witnessed the birth of numerous haciendas vinatas where large quantities of agave were produced, but only the one belonging to the Osuna has lasted over time.
According to historical data from specialists, since 1600 the distillate was manufactured in this region, although the first official data point to 1850.
And although last year the denomination of origin was announced for Mazatlán, El Rosario, Concordia, and San Ignacio, which allows them to legally produce and market mezcal, there are two protections from Oaxacan producers that have prevented it.
And they argue that the fact that more Mexican states obtain the appellation of origin will impact the 100,000 families in Oaxaca who benefit directly from the production of the ancestral drink. Currently there are 11 entities that can produce and market it: Guerrero, Oaxaca, Guanajuato, Durango, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, Michoacán, Aguascalientes, Morelos, Puebla and Sinaloa (pending due to legal protection).
They seek to create the Mezcal Corridor.
The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) modified in October 2021 the General Declaration of Protection of the Designation of Origin Mezcal to include Mazatlán, El Rosario, Concordia, and San Ignacio and thus be able to produce this drink in the entity.
The IMPI is the only body empowered to issue declarations of protection for appellations of origin; that is to say, it is this institution that grants the right to use the DOM or not to the interested parties, whether natural or legal persons.
In 2006, the Ministry of Economy issued the Emerging Standard NOM-012-SCFI-2006, where the genre of “Agave Distillates” was created, welcoming all producers who are not protected by the appellation of origin and who it forces its products to be offered with 35 percent less alcohol, which is considered to be of low quality in the market.
It is expected that this year, at the latest, all legal obstacles will be released in a favorable manner for southern Sinaloa and then this industry can develop and consolidate.
Benefits for the region
Juan Carlos Osuna Rubio, production manager at Hacienda Rincón del Cielo , recalled that in the 1800s there were 30,000 hectares of agave and 60 mezcal-producing vines, all in Mazatlán, Concordia, San Ignacio and Rosario.
“ We want to start that gastronomic and tourist activity again, with a detonating mezcal corridor in the rural area, focus more on tourism so that we can consolidate ourselves. ”
Currently, more than 200 hectares of blue agave are already planted, the oldest is three years old and the others less time. The idea is to harvest the agave after five years.
“We started with agave on the farm, nothing more than with the climate we have, we wanted to do a bit of the experiment that we bring to add irrigation, because in the dry season, the part of Sinaloa cannot compete with Jalisco, which has more water, more rain, then it is the supplement that we are giving it, that is why it is the development that we have, that is why it is the goodness that we have right now from mezcal and take advantage of the development that we want to give to the south of Sinaloa ”.
The entire mezcal production process will generate jobs for the inhabitants of the region, the same if tourism is promoted in that area, which goes from Miravalles to El Tecomate de Siqueros and can reach El Recodo, as well as for the entire south . of Sinaloa in general.
They are looking to generate a great source of income.
Agaveros from the region affirm that there is tranquility throughout the area and that criminal acts have come down because it has become an area that generates employment for the community.
The commissioner of El Tecomate de Siqueros, Sabino Zataráin, assured that the stigma of the rural area as a violent region has been left behind, since the attraction of investors shows that this part of the municipality is safe.
“ It is an area to invest. The inhabitants are witnesses that it has been very calm when there is investment, there is trust, if there is trust, it means that we are fine ”.
He highlights that with these investments, the quality of life of hundreds of families undoubtedly improves, and although the benefit would be more direct for the communities of Miravalles and El Tecomate de Siqueros, from El Vainillo to El Recodo, a great source of employment would be generated, because of how extensive this mezcal route could be.
According to the Council for the Economic Development of Sinaloa (Codesin) and the Agrifood Information Service (SIAP), there are about 6 thousand hectares of agave planting in four municipalities in the southern zone: Mazatlán, El Rosario, Concordia, and San Ignacio. .
They seek to create agave route
In Mazatlán and the south of Sinaloa, the aim is to reactivate the potential of mezcal production that this region had during the first decades of the last century and at the same time promote gastronomic tourism in what would be the Mezcal Corridor.
The Secretary of Economic Development, Tourism and Fisheries of Mazatlán, Ricardo Velarde Cárdenas, assured that there is interest in promoting this activity that implies the complete development of the communities.
The tourist corridor that will generate the mezcal route in the south of Sinaloa will come to benefit not only the businessmen, but also the social part, since they could take advantage of the “boom” that is coming when the appellation of origin is given to create an offer that attracts thousands of visitors.
He points out that what is done in the Valle de Guadalupe, in Baja California, with the wine route, does not compare to what is done in Mazatlan, with its gastronomic banner and now the agave.
” The El Habal-La Noria circuit has been one of the great examples of how an entire community has been developing beyond the town of La Noria, the entire corridor with more than eight restaurants already active that have generated jobs in the area .”
On the part of the residents, they have every intention of generating sources of income for their families, and they could also exploit the dam that exists in the locality.
230 hectares of agave are planted at Hacienda Rincón del Cielo, in El Tecomate de Siqueros
In Mexico there are 11 states that have the denomination of origin of mezcal: Guerrero, Oaxaca, Guanajuato, Durango, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, Michoacán, Aguascalientes, Morelos, Puebla and Sinaloa (pending due to legal protections).
El Rosario: 5,100 hectares.
Mazatlan: 428 hectares.
Concord: 255 hectares.
San Ignacio: 14 hectares.