The Mezcal industry is looking at making some major changes for the better and they need your help to make it happen.
It all comes down to a NOM, to be precise NOM 70. For those of you unaware of what a NOM is (besides the noise Jennie Rae makes when she’s eating tapas) let’s have a quick look.
NOM stands for Norma Oficial Mexicana (Official Mexican Standard in English wordage) and they are a series of compulsory standards and regulations for various activities in Mexico. If you have been to a tequila educational session you may well have already heard of them.
In the case of tequila the NOM’s are regulated by the Tequila Regulatory Council. Each distillery that follows the standards set out by the NOM is given a number which they put on the bottle to show that the bottle contains legitimate tequila.
In short the NOM provides a guarantee of quality.
The proposed NOM covering mezcal (NOM 70) looks into all aspects of this often underrated spirit from which agaves can be used, which states can make mezcal, production methods and a whole lot more technical stuff.
We asked our favourite mezcal expert Melanie Symonds, owner of Quiquiriqui Mezcal and Brahms and Liszt Off License why this is so important:
It will protect the process of traditionally made mezcal. As the category grows the opportunity for industrialisation of the mezcal making process grows too. The current legislation set out by the government is simply not detailed enough, leaving the category open to abuse from those who wish to see profit above taste, skill and tradition.
This new NOM will categorise the different types of mezcal production, making it easier to spot the good from the industrial.
It will allow everyone to trace the mezcal they are drinking right back to its production source, ensuring transparence to the processes and people involved. Giving the purchaser the knowledge they need.
While many say this NOM has not gone far enough with its category definitions it’s a step in the right direction, early enough in the growth of the category to actually make a positive difference. Support now can only help the cause of mezcal in the future.
So now we know why it’s important, we asked Melanie why bartenders should bother to sign the petition:
Because supporting this change will have a direct impact on what knowledge is available to them when they buy a mezcal. Its very hard to trace the provenance of a product as it is now, which has led many bars to unwittingly buy more industrialised mezcals. This inadvertently leads to support of an industry that is actively looking to stop traditional producers from making mezcal they way it has for hundreds of years
Its an opportunity to help change a spirit category for the better and support producers who have been making it for generations.
So there we are folks. If you love mezcal or simply the notion of traditional spirit production being protected from those who wish to use it just for profit and fuck the taste and small producers sign. Sign now and feel that you have done something good today, I have and now I’m going to reward myself with some mezcal…. because I deserve it.