Who’s the New Guest of Honor at Celebrations? Yours Truly, Mezcal!

With the arrival of good weather and because Hispanics never lack an excuse to celebrate, starting with Mother’s Day in May, to the wave of “Quinceañeras” and upcoming graduations, there’s one more “guest” that has already sneaked into the basic grocery list and seems to be taking a place of honor: mezcal.

Yes, that “smoky cousin” of tequila that, whether straight or in a mezcalina (something like a margarita, but with mezcal), we now find in sophisticated cocktail menus across the United States, with exorbitant prices reaching up to $30 for an ounce of Tobalá (one of the most popular agaves).

This distilled spirit, with its deep roots in Mexican tradition and craftsmanship, is already reporting impressive growth levels.

The growth of mezcal

According to Bloomberg, the combined category of tequila and mezcal has become the highest-value liquor segment in the United States, reaching nearly $13.3 billion in sales in 2023. And yes, mezcal leads this growth!

With estimated sales of $432 million in 2022, this elixir is also becoming a culinary ingredient, from spicy dishes, rice, and seafood to desserts like chocolate truffles and caramel sauces, and this despite its prices ranging between $40 and $100 per bottle, making it a premium product on the shelf.

Because of all this, on my recent trip to Mexico, I couldn’t resist traveling to Oaxaca, this beautiful state in southeastern Mexico, expressly to visit a palenque, the name given to small businesses and communities that cultivate, process, and bottle artisanal mezcal.


My visit to “Lalocura” was more than a sensory experience; it was a journey to the past, where I met the mezcal artisans whose passion and dedication breathed life into this centuries-old tradition.

From the smoky aroma of cooked agaves to the strong and complex flavor of freshly distilled mezcal, every moment was a lesson in history and culture that made me think about how our Hispanic stores in the United States could revive these types of experiences at the point of sale.

Products like mezcal, assuming our establishment has the proper licenses, can become differentiators in the shopping experience we offer. This is not only because of the impact on the assortment perception on our shelves but also because we can use it as a product that transfers that particular sense of pride in its place of origin.

Productive Connections

For example, educating our customers about the types of agaves, the distillation processes, and even the origin bottling (mezcal is produced in nine states in Mexico), is a way to make our stores stand out among other competitive options.

These moments of connection not only strengthen ties with the community but also create a lasting emotional connection with our stores and our products.

So, if you haven’t yet ventured to try it, or if after reading this article you’re eager to savor one, remember the saying: for everything bad, mezcal; for everything good, too; and if there’s no cure, a liter and a half!

Related Article: The Time Has Come for The “Human Experience”

“La Mezcaloteca” is the destination to experiment with mezcal if you visit Oaxaca. A tasting of 3 mezcals costs approximately $30.

“Lalocura,” a name that actually combines “Lalo” and “Cura” (Lalo is the diminutive of Eduardo, its founder; and Cura, in reference to the “benefits” of mezcal for health), is a tribute to authentic artisanal mezcal.

Isaac and his family have been cultivators and lovers of mezcal. It was fascinating to see how Isaac “tests” ways to improve the quality of agaves and how to make them grow healthy. There are agaves that take up to 20 years to mature and be ready to go through the distillation process.

Unlike Tequila, whose designation of origin is precisely in Tequila, Jalisco, Mezcal originates in 9 states of Mexico.