Mezcal and Tequila

Machines in a distillery

For centuries, people in Mexico have battled over the right to make and sell mezcal and tequila, two of its most iconic products. The first mezcals, or distilled agave spirits, originated in the Colima volcanoes region in western Mexico. As distillation techniques spread into indigenous communities and mining centers and along trade routes, mezcal producers adapted their techniques to each region. As the distilleries near the town of Tequila began to expand in the late 1800s, people began referring to their mezcal simply as tequila, and Mexico’s most famous distillate was born. The tequila distilleries industrialized quickly. In contrast, most mezcal is still made by small distilleries. Eventually, both tequila and mezcal were awarded denominations of origin, meaning they can only be made in certain parts of Mexico. But the conflicts over how they are defined and protected have continued.

Sarah Bowen, a Sociology professor at NC State and author of Divided Spirits: Tequila, and Mezcal, and the Politics of Production will tell the stories of tequila and mezcal, how they have evolved over time, and why people are still fighting over them.

The virtual talk will be on Thursday April 29th at 4 PM EDT 10 PM Danish time. Read more and sign up here: