MEZCAL BRANDS FOUND IN THE U.S.
I’am always trying to keep up with, keep track of, and ingest as much of, the mezcal brands that I can find in the U.S. It is hard to stay on top of the new brands coming to market, and it can also be hard to find some established brands. I probably buy most of my mezcal online, though there are a few notable liquor stores in NYC, like Astor Wines, which carry a bunch of premium mezcals (they even have a Mezcal section at Astor!).
You will find a lot more on these brands if you read MY BOOK (shameless self-promotion perhaps, but hey, the blog is free so this is my form of selling ad space!). I talk about all these brands in greater depth, plus I take a detailed look at how the many varieties of agave impact the flavor of a mezcal – much like grapes are to wine agave is to mezcal. The book is Holy Smoke! It’s Mezcal! and it is about $20 on Amazon. Notice the cool cover shot to the right. Buy a copy – I promise you won’t be disappointed! Now back to our regularly scheduled program…
So here is my currently assembled list of the brands that can be found in the U.S. (and I will try to keep it updated). The Premium list is roughly in order of the brands I am the most familiar with which means among other things, I can find them and drink them regularly, I read about them, and/or they are actively promoting their brands through social media, etc. The Less Than Premium and Premium or Not lists are generally brands I do not buy, or know little about. But they are here in the spirit of trying to put together a comprehensive list of mezcals that can be purchased in the U.S. Of the latter 2 categories, you will rarely see these in bars or restaurants, but they can be found online or at liquor stores.
Ilegal. Joven, Repo, and Anejo.
Del Maguey. Many varietals plus a pechuga (about the most expensive bottle of mezcal you buy at about $220).
Los Nahuales. Formerly Los Danzantes. Joven, Repo, and Anejo.
Sombra. Intense. Joven only.
Leyenda. Several agave varietals from different regions. Various producers.
Fidencio. Classico, Sin Humo (no smoke), Tobala, and Pechuga and more.
Wahaka. Several varietals, but why oh why did you put a worm in one of them!
El Tieneblo. Joven, Repo, and Anejo.
Mezcalero. Small batch releases. “Release #6″ recently launched. Different distillers for each batch.
Scorpion. More tequila-like in production methods resulting in little smoke. Several varietals plus aged products out to 7 years!
Pierde Almas. Several varietals plus a pechuga and a conejo (figure that one out!). All jovens.
Los Amantes. Joven and Repo. Same owner as Casa Mezcal in NYC.
Marca Negra. Previously named Mano Negra. Espadin and Tobala, both jovens.
Agave de Cortes. Joven, Repo, Anejo, and Extra Anejo; plus for some unknown reason a repo with a worm (ugh).
Sacacuento. Joven and Anejo, no Repo.
Don Amado. Joven, Repo, and Anejo. Been around since 1994.
Alipus. Same producer as Los Nahuales. Four varietals. No website I can find.
El Buho. Launched in 2012.
Montelobos. Launched in 2012 by the guys who brought you Milagro Tequila. No website that I can find.
Semilerro. I know it is in the U.S. but it is not easily found. Joven, Repo, and Anejo.
Peleton de la Muerta. Recently found at Astor Wines. Same producer as Leyenda. Joven. No website.
La Fogata. Found randomly one day in Chelsea Market. Expensive. Never seen it anywhere else. No website.
Real Matlatl. New to the U.S. At Binny’s online. Website under construction. Joven, Repo, and Anejo.
La Nina del Mezcal. Can be found online at K&L. New to the market.
Mezcal Union. Can be found at Andrew’s Wine Cellar. Joven only.
Mezcal Yuu Baal. Joven, Repo, Anejo, and Madrecuixe. Found at Andrews.
Siete Misterios. Very hard to find as of early 2014. Not sure what is happening with this brand.
Dona Sarito. Joven only. Found at Andrews.
El Jolgorio. Joven only. Found at Andrews.
Real Minero. Weak website. Need marketing help! Found at Andrews.
Banhez Mezcal. Little info online. Found at Andrews.
Koch el Mezcal. Found at Andrews.
Espiritu Lauro. Spanish website. Found at Andrews.
Santa Pedrera. Barely a website. Found at Andrews.
Shawi. No website. Found at Andrews.
Alacran. Have a tequila and a mezcal.
Joya. I have their Gran Reserva.
Mezcal Embajador. Joven, Repo, Anejo and Gran Reserva.
Metl. Joven and Repo. They may be changing their bottle which is a good thing.
Delirio. At Hi-Time Wines.
Mezcal Vago. Arrive Spring 2013. Check out the Elote. Found at Andrews.
El Silencio. Arrived Fall 2013. Found at K&L.
Cha Cha Cha Mezcal. Found at Wally’s Wines in LA.
Mezcal Tosba. Arrived Fall 2013. Available at K&L.
Mezcal Sacrificio. Arrived early 2014. Joven and uniquely aged repo.
Mezcal Amaras. Arrived early 2015.
Less Than Premium
Wild Shot. Toby Keith owned.
Beneva. They also make Monte Alban.
Zignum. Industrial type production.
Maria Mezcal. Imported by the Scorpion crew.
Mijes. Also imported by the Scorpion crew..
Benesin. No website.
La Penca Mezcal. They have a joven with 2 worms – ’nuff said. No website.
Mezcal Filino. No information.
Oro de Oaxaca. Been around a long time.
Monte Alban. No list would be complete without them (that was a joke).
El Mal Pais. No information. Can be found at Binny’s.
Mezcal Rojas. No information.
Mezcal Guerrero. No information.
Casa Curiel Mezcal. So cheap (and likely so bad) it should not even be here!
Aztecali Mezcal. Basically tequila made in Zacatecas.
Antonio Agular. Named after a Mexican singer.
La Esclava. No information.
Real de Jalpa. No information.
Gusano Rojo. Really reaching now.
Trader Jose’s Mezcal. From Trader Joe’s. No NOM or distillerry. Hmmm.
Premium or Not – Destination Unknown (i.e. I need guidance here)
Herencia del Mezcalero. Joven, Repo, and Anejo.
El Zacatecano. Have not tried it.
Mina Del Eden Mezcal. Came to the U.S. in 2010. No website.
Felicidad la Puritita Verda Mezcal. Pierde Almas entry level brand.
Mina Real. Joven and Repo. Don Amado’s entry level brand.
San Juan Del Rio Mezcal. At K&L so might be good.
Where to Find Them (online)
Zee Tequila (Old Town Tequila)
K&L Wine Merchants
Astor Wines and Spirits
Andrews Wine Cellar.
So that is my current list. I count 71 mezcal brands that are in the U.S. Many of these are marginal at best (cheap, ineffective or non-existent marketing, and really only found online), but they are here, and you can buy them.
I have not seen a list like this anywhere, so if you know of one, or have additions, please send them in! In the meantime, drink mezcal because you have many to choose from!