Hector Vasquez de Abarca and Ansley Coale talking mezcal in 2009.

Visiting the Alipus distillery in San Balatazar Guelavila so that Katherine Lewis could take photos. As Ansley was getting into the pick-up, he noticed distiller Pedro Hernandez coming towards him. Pedro said, in Spanish, “If you don’t do something about this, it will go away”, and went back inside. It felt like a direct message from the Universe.

Hector keeping records of distillation.

Ansley tasting mezcals with Don Beto and Don Valente near Santa Maria la Pila

Hector roasting agaves at Los Danzantes.

Hector and Ansley in the house of Eduardo Hernandez in Santa Ana del Rio.

Hector talking with Abelio Cruz in San Juan del Rio.

Ansley arriving in Santa Caterina Juquila, 5 1/2 days in pilgrimage.

Here are human beings we have been fortunate to work with, carrying out their agave wonders.

Cutting up roasted agaves in San Juan del Rio.

Eduardo Hernandez of Santa Ana del Rio. He told Ansley he can tell what’s happening inside the still by watching the distillate coming out.

Pedro Hernandez in San Balatazar Guélavila.

Baltazar Cruz Gonzales of San Luis del Rio.

The distiller pays constant attention. Maintaining even heat with a wood fire is not easy.

Three generations of the Cruz family in their agave fields above San Juan del Rio.

Don Cosmé Hernandez and his wife Cristina of San Baltazar Guélavila.

Sealing the still before a distillation run in San Juan del Rio.

Tending the fire under a clay still at Real Minero in Ocotlan.

The end of a run at Los Danzantes in Santiago Matatlan.

Angel Cruz making a cut in El Lazo, Sola de Vega.

taking out bagasso, the solids, after a second run in San Juan del Rio.

Photographs by Katherine Lewis, Jaime Muñoz, Linda Newton. Reed Spear, and a tourist.

Craft Distillers

Craft Distillers