Las Guardianas del Mezcal

When you arrive in Oaxaca, one of the first things you’ll notice is the number of mezcalerías. You’ll usually see men around this drink, pouring it at bars, and in the publicity, not equally for the maestras mezcaleras.


If you don’t know what mezcal is, well, maybe you have heard about Tequila, let’s say it’s its cousin. Both are alcoholic drinks that come out of agave. A succulent plant that is cut, then cooked underground, fermented for a few days and then distilled. What defines the difference between Mezcal and Tequila? Primarily the variety of agave used.

This story is not about Mezcal technical details, it’s about the people behind it: The maestras mezcaleras (Mezcal Masters) The problem with Spanish, though, is that there’s no gender neutral word for Master.

The Struggles of the Small Mezcal Producers

In this mini-documentary, we are going to talk about some issues that the maestras mezcaleras face in their daily lives, like living in poverty; therefore, lack of resources. They also talk about the relevance of the women in the Palenques, which are the spaces where they work to produce it.

Let’s get to know a little more about this group of women working to create a collective to have a brand. They invited me to work with them to tell their story. We created this video to share their vision and enabling them to tell us more about their expertise, which is opaqued by society.

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