Bartenders petition to protest proposed Mexican tequila regs

on 22/01/12 at 11:31 am

Booze News

IN THE WAKE of Internet “blackouts” protesting SOPA and PIPA (anti-piracy legislation currently before the U.S. Congress), a smaller, but no less passionate regulatory protest has been circulating among the world’s bartenders this weekend: Legislation sitting before the Mexican government. NOM-186 as it is called, is designed to tighten naming and production of regionally delineated agave-based spirits like tequila, mezcal and bacanora. But opponents feel the regulations benefit large, established producers at the expense of niche and family producers, and were surreptitiously introduced.

“We agree that something has to be done about misleading agave spirits that are on the market,” says David Suro-Piñera, president of Siembra Azul tequila, owner of Philadelphia’s Los Catrines restaurant, and part of the force behind the Tequila Interchange Project (TIP), an interdisciplinary affiliation of academics, small producers and bartenders in Mexico and the U.S.. “But those offenders are industrial products, and have nothing to do with small producers in Oaxaca and elsewhere.” Oaxaca, Mexico is a state closely associated with the production of mezcal, a spirit distilled from agave sugars, like tequila. Some 90% of mezcal is made by village- or family-based small enterprises, and crucial to south-central Mexican economic growth, according to Scorpion Mezcal’s Douglas French.


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