Culture

Mezcal Demand Is Putting Mexican Farmers In Jeopardy

Once upon a time, it seemed like mezcal was doomed to forever live in the shadow of tequila’s popularity. Mainstream consumers saw mezcal as a drink for the poor, working class farmers who occupied some of the more remote regions of Mexico. But trends are changing, Slate reports, and mezcal is slowly becoming the “it” drink for high end consumers; bottles for mezcal can easily top $100US or more.

As prices for high quality mezcal skyrocket, entrepreneurs are tapping Oaxacan farmers for a quick profit.

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CREDIT: DENVER AND LIELY / INSTAGRAM

Unfortunately, as Slate reports, mezcal’s production leans heavily on a limited number of farmers who have dedicated their lives to perfecting the distillation process, using techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation. But as the popularity of mezcal increases, companies in search of massive profits will be forced to take production out of the hands of farmers. We saw this happen with tequila production many years ago, and unless business practices change, mezcal may face the same fate. Read the whole story at Slate.

[H/T] Mezcal Could Be the Next Tequila


READ: 11 Reasons Why We Have A Love / Hate Relationship With Tequila

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#NationalTequilaDay Gives You Something To Celebrate While Sitting In Your Living Room

Culture

#NationalTequilaDay Gives You Something To Celebrate While Sitting In Your Living Room

Refugio Ruiz / Getty Images

Even when we aren’t in quarantine, tequila can offer a quick and fun respite from the world. Today is National Tequila Day and the current state of the world is a great reason to celebrate. There is more than just the drinking of tequila to celebrate.

Happy National Tequila Day!

Tequila is arguably one of the several gifts Mexico has given to the world. It is just one of the many culinary treats that the vibrant and beautiful country has created. Makes sense that we would have a national do to truly appreciate the nectar from the Mexican gods.

Women had a major hand in developing the liquor that has become a staple around the world.

Women were some of the first to cultivate the blue agave plant center to create the drink. The women on Tequila, where tequila was born, would harvest the hijuelos in the blue agave plant. That part of the plant is what is used to make tequila.

Tequila, like champagne, is from a very specific place.

Champagne is champagne if it comes from the Champagne region of France. Tequila is no different. In fact, there is a board of people in Mexico who decide who can and cannot call themselves tequila. Elon Musk was swatted down by that board when he claimed to be making his own version of tequila produced outside of the region.

If you’ve ever wanted to know the chemistry behind tequila, there are some helpful graphs floating around.

The treatment of the tequila really dictates the flavor, color, and profile of the drink. it might even help you discover what kind of tequila you might like to drink. Maybe you might prefer a mezcal instead. Mezcal is not always tequila but tequila is always mezcal.

Either way, enjoy your day celebrating tequila.

With so few options for outing, why not make your own tequila celebration happen at home. You won’t have to drive or put on pants so it is truly a win-win.

READ: 14 Reasons You Should Be Drinking Tequila Right Now

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A New Investigation Alleges That Some Of Mexico’s Largest Tequila Brands Are Laundering Money For Drug Cartels

Things That Matter

A New Investigation Alleges That Some Of Mexico’s Largest Tequila Brands Are Laundering Money For Drug Cartels

Carlos Jasso / Getty

Thre have long been alleged links between Mexico’s drug cartels and legitimate businesses. Whether by pressure or choice, several companies have been proven to be working alongside some of Mexico’s most deadly cartels – whether it be laundering money, lobbying politicians, or paying off corrupt officials.

However, a new investigation has revealed just how far the cartels have gone to ensure a steady stream of cash directly to their pockets. And in the process, they’ve revealed that some of Mexico’s most iconic brands may be tied to some of its most dangerous cartels.

Working together with the U.S. DEA, Mexico has identified tequila brands that are allegedly laundering money for cartels.

On Tuesday, Mexican financial regulators unveiled details about companies they believe to be linked to movements totaling more than $1.1 billion related to the hyper-violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). They also froze the bank accounts of nearly 2,000 people they allege are involved in the money laundering scheme.

The country’s anti-money laundering agency said it worked with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to identify the 167 companies caught up in the financial dragnet, dubbed “Operation Blue Agave.”

Blue agave is the plant used to make tequila, which is the signature drink of Jalisco, the cartel’s home state.

Drug cartels have a long history of using tequila to disguise their operations, dating to at least 2006.

Credit: Carlos Jasso / Getty

This isn’t the first time that criminal groups have used Mexico’s most popular beverage to advance their illegal activities – links between the tequila industry and drug cartels go back to at least 2006. That was the year the DEA first discovered a connection between tequila and drug trafficking in Mexico, the newspaper Milenio reported on Thursday.

Much like today’s report, it’s alleged that drug cartels are using legitimate – and sometimes totally fake – tequila companies to launder money.

In 2006, it was the Tequila Cartel – also known as the Arellano Félix organization – that was found to be using tequila as a front for illegal activities. the U.S. Treasury Department had alleged that the tequila company 4 Reyes had helped the Tijuana Cartel to launder the money it obtained from distributing drugs in both Mexico and the U.S.

So which tequila companies have been accused of working alongside the cartels?

Mexican officials so far are remaining pretty tight lipped about which specific companies have been accused of working alongside the cartels. However, from previous reports, links between the tequila company Onze Black have been discovered. The company was set up by Los Cuinis, a drug cartel with close ties to the CJNG, to help finance its criminal activities. The U.S. government added the company to an economic blacklist the same year.

Another tequila company, one owned by the actress Kate del Castillo, was investigated by Mexican authorities to establish whether it had any financial links to the former Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, currently imprisoned in the United States.

However, no illicit dealings between del Castillo’s company, Tequila Honor, and El Chapo were detected.

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