Any of us who’ve been in Oaxaca for any length of time have surely tasted at least a few varieties of mezcal, but there are worlds within worlds hidden within the history and production of this local spirit.
One important (and often-overlooked dimension) of mezcal production is that of the women who have traditionally played imperative roles in the cultivation of agave, the distillation process, and the burgeoning mezcal industry.
At Tlayudona we’ve been fans of mezcal for many years, but have been waiting for the right moment to delve into the agave scene on a deeper level, precisely because we treasure it and wouldn’t want to do it a disservice. Out of this personal, anthropological, and community-building spirit, we present to you the “Women in Mezcal” series, which unveils some of the historical and sociological implications of women´s participation in mezcal in Oaxaca.
In this series, we’ll examine women’s many roles in the local world of mezcal, as well as the affects that participating in the industry has had on the lives of local women who are prominent players in the scene.
We´ll be delving into some general mezcal information particular to three regions of Oaxaca– Sola de Vega, Miahatlán, and the Mixteca— so that those of you with no prior experience with mezcal can receive a varied and comprehensive introduction.
Our goal with this series is to lay out “the good, the bad, and the ugly” in terms of the production process in relation to women’s participation within the industry without any underlying motives or justifications. At Tlayudona we believe that learning is a constant and transformative process, and that through inter-cultural understanding we can build bridges and create great things together.
With that in mind, we present to you our “Women in Mezcal” series, beginning with an introductory event at Los Lirios Hostal on Noche Buena Street (#5) at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11th. They’re our new neighbors in Jalatlaco, and we’re excited to brindar and share a grand bienvenidx with them accordingly.
Sósima Olivera Aguilar, maestra mezcalera, will be presenting at the introduction of our series, at which point we’ll unleash the details regarding subsequent “Women in Mezcal” events.
You´re cordially invited, and we hope to see you next month at our first event dedicated to celebrating Oaxaca, mezcal, and the amazing women who are pioneering the industry!
More about our introductory event:
Our first experience with women in mezcal will provide us with a brief explanation of the various mezcal-producing regions of Oaxaca. We´ll learn some of the differentiating factors between regions—where certain types of agave can be found, the differences/properties between different agave varieties, etc. For the visual learners, we´ll locate the regions on a map of the state of Oaxaca to give us additional context.
We´ll watch a short video about agaves/magueys and mezcal, and then we´ll launch into a discussion about the strenuous demands that the rapidly-growing international market is putting on mezcal production, and how this affects the sustainability of the practice.
At this point the gender perspective comes clearly into play, and we´ll run through some brief descriptions of some of the projects that women have collectively created/organized to aid the efforts to make mezcal a more sustainable industry.
Just as there are many ways that women have shaped the mezcal industry, there is also a myriad of ways in which their participation in mezcal production has transformed their lives. Each of our encounters with “Women in Mezcal” will include their personal stories and experiences in the industry, which are at once diverse as well as connected by a common thread.
Since no mezcal discussion would be complete without a tasting, we´ll try two wild agave varieties as well as one which is cultivated.
Más información sobre este primer evento:
Nuestra primera experiencia con las mujeres en el mezcal nos proveerá de una breve explicación de varias regiones productivas de Oaxaca. Aprenderemos sobre los factores que diferencian a las regiones donde ciertas variedades de agave crecen, las diferencias/propiedades de las distintas variedades de agave, etc. Para quienes aprenden visualmente, localizaremos las regiones en el mapa de Oaxaca para darnos contexto adicional.
Veremos un video corto acerca de los agaves/magueyes y el mezcal, y después abordaremos la discusión acerca de la estresante demanda que viene del rápido crecimiento del mercado internacional de la producción del mezcal, y como afecta esto a la sostenibilidad de las prácticas actuales.
En este punto, la perspectiva de género sale claramente a reducir, y revisaremos algunas breves descripciones de los proyectos que las mujeres colectivamente han creado/organizado para asistir en el esfuerzo de hacer más sostenible a la industria del mezcal.
Así como hay muchas maneras en que las mujeres han dado forma a la industria del mezcal, también existen muchas formas en las que su participación en la industria del mezcal ha transformado sus propias vidas. Cada uno de nuestros encuentros de “Las mujeres del mezcal” incluirá historias y experiencias personales en la industria que son tan diversas como tan conectadas en un mismo hilo.
Ya que la discusión acerca del mezcal estaría incompleta sin probarlo, cataremos dos variedades salvajes así como una cultivada.