Mezcals are spirits distilled from the agave plant. Tequila is a mezcal, but tequila producers remove the agave solids before they distill. Tequila distillers put just the fermented juice into their stills, but artisan mezcal distillers include the fermented agave solids, so that well-made artisan mezcals from Oaxaca are richer and more complex than tequila.

Mezcalero is distilled and bottled in one-time batches. The agaves used for distillation are at least 50% wild species. Distillation takes place at small family distilleries.

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