Can a bunch of bartenders save artisanal mezcal and tequila? We bet you they can!
It’s no secret that here at El Camion we love tequila and we love mezcal – two awesome spirits made from the wonders of agave. But, if the agave is not protected, what does this mean for the industry and the livelihood of the noble agave farmer?
This informative article from PUNCH talks about TIP (Tequila Interchange Project) and how this group is influencing government policy in Mexico regarding agave production.
TIP’s story began in 2010. Five bartenders, who were originally on a trip to find out more about tequila, learned of the changing nature of the agave spirits and together, with a mezcal producer, embarked on a mission to preserve the sustainable, traditional and quality practices in the tequila industry.
Mexicans have been farming agave for hundreds and hundreds of years, and it wasn’t until the 20th century that international demand started to soar, due to a global desire for cocktails. Multinational spirits companies started buying up farms, turning them into high production facilities. The agave rush had begun – but with it came over-planting, early harvesting, diseases within the crops and lots of wastage.
Because of demand, the future does mean innovative industrial production, which, of course, risks wiping out artisanal practices that have been passed down through families for generations.
TIP have campaigned to protect small distilleries and have already stopped policies going through that would have been a threat to the traditional culture of mezcal production. Now, a thriving non-profit organisation, they comprise of bartenders, consultants, educators, researchers, consumers and tequila enthusiasts and are seen as a leading advocacy group for agave distilled spirits.
Keep updated about TIP here on their website.