Debut accompanied by receipt of 12 awards from various competitions, including NYISC, Spirits of Mexico 2011, and Tequila.net.
After receiving several leading spirits awards late in 2011, the makers of Austin-based Wahaka Mezcal are proud to announce that their line of organic mezcales are now available in the United States.
Using traditional distilling processes with more than 400 years of history behind them, Wahaka Mezcal is crafted by the Morales family in San Dionisio Ocotepec, in the highlands of Oaxaca, Mexico. This Zapotec family, has perfected the art of mezcal creation over five generations, and is a proud shareholder of Wahaka Mezcal. Using 100% organic, Espadín agave, Wahaka Mezcal offers an un-aged joven or blanco mezcal (Wahaka Mezcal Espadín Joven); and a reposado, it’s aged counterpart complete with the gusano worm, which has been traditionally used to add flavor to the spirit (Wahaka Mezcal Reposado con Gusano). Adding to its lineup, Wahaka Mezcal also offers Wahaka Mezcal Madre Cuishe and Wahaka Mezcal Tobalá, which are distilled from wild agave varieties found in the Oaxacan highlands and lowlands, respectively. Topping off the Wahaka Mezcal lineup is the Wahaka Mezcal Ensemble, a blend of the Espadín Joven (50%), Madre Cuishe (25%) and Tobalá (25%).
“The majority of mezcal brands available in the United States only use the Espadín, which is the most common, farmed agave; but this doesn’t fully represent the range of mezcales that have been in production for centuries. We’re one of the only distilleries that offers mezcal made not only from Espadín, but also from some of the wild agave varieties, which offer more complex flavors, and a real taste of where the agave naturally grows,” said Wahaka Mezcal co-founder, Alejandro Santa-Cruz.
Unlike its popular relative tequila, mezcal can be made from a variety of agave plants, and is indigenous to seven different states of Mexico, the most prominent being Oaxaca. The distillation process involves crushing the agave hearts using a traditional millstone, after roasting them in earthen pits – giving it its signature smoky, smooth flavor. Despite the years of history behind mezcal, the spirit is just now starting to gain popularity in the United States.
In addition to offering a variety of agaves in its product line, Wahaka Mezcal is also differentiating itself from other mezcal companies by incorporating the production process into the brand, and being one of the few fully-integrated mezcales in the market – from the agave fields all the way to the commercialization of the brand. “Unlike others who simply purchase mezcal from a 3rd party, Wahaka Mezcal is also proudly owned by the Morales family, a 5th generation Zapotec mezcalero family that produces this delicious elixir exclusively for Wahaka Mezcal,” Santa-Cruz adds.
Wahaka Mezcal is currently available at a variety of bars, restaurants and retailers in Austin, Texas – including, La Condesa, Finos, Contigo, Haddington’s, Peche, East Side Showroom, 400 Rabbits, and Iron Cactus. Outside of Texas, Wahaka Mezcal can also be found at select locations in Southern California, such as Los Angeles hotspot, Las Perlas and San Diego’s Cantina Mayahuel. The product is also available in several select locations throughout the U.S, including celebrity-chef Rick Bayless’, Frontera Grill in Chicago. In Mexico, it tops the list of mezcales at the renowned Café des Artistes in Puerto Vallarta where recently Chef Thierry announced Wahaka Mezcal as the “best mezcal in the world.” Chef Patricia Quintana’s iconic restaurant in the Districto Federal, Izote, also features Wahaka.
To compliment their debut, Wahaka Mezcal made a big splash in spirits competitions coast-to-coast, including: 5 Silver Medals at the New York International Spirits Competition, 2 Gold and 3 Silver medals at the Spirits of Mexico awards in San Diego, and 2 “Best of the Best” awards from Tequila.net.
The company plans on expanding distribution to several key markets in 2012, including Northern California, New York, Seattle, Chicago and the Washington D.C Metro Area. Moreover, Wahaka Mezcal will be competing in some high-profile spirits competitions including —the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York.