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Mezcal, a gourmet product of the poor.

Being this an ancient drink, part of the historical identity of our country; It was only until the second half of the last century that research began to be carried out on maguey and mezcal. The results of these efforts indicate that since before colonial times the use of agave was already a frequent practice, due to its characteristics it allowed the production of intoxicating beverages, ixtle, fabrics, paper, sweets, tortillas, vinegar and some medicinal products. After the conquest, in the colony its essential use consisted of being a means of subjugation, through its effects as a strong intoxicating drink (tequila, mezcal, aguardiente, sotol, comiteco, bacanora); their abundance and low cost were crucial characteristics. It was from there that its use was related as a "drink for the poor" condemned to the dispossessed and its own producers, while global consumption trends pointed towards much more domesticated liquors coupled with capitalist development such as whiskey, rum or the vodka For the 20th century, the entry of these liquors into the national market further displaced the locals, with the sale of their foreign products the idea of ​​being in the presence of higher quality beverages was also sold, the low levels of schooling in Oaxaca and the lack of international interest allowed mezcal to be reserved for the agricultural population. Production and consumption remained between locals, neighbors, compadres and relatives, but the scope of globalization and the free market meant that around 1984 agave prices skyrocketed and thus began a race to see who could produce more and faster (Sanchez, 2006 , p.37).

After centuries of relegation and foreignism, "the case of mezcal offers a window to understand globalization" (García, 2018, p.30), since, since production is in the hands of peasants, they have been dispossessed of methods industrialized, which limits the number of liters and its commercial potential. The intranational claim, caused by the growing foreign valuation, triggered the net profits of the palenques[1] but kept the bulk of the peasants in precarious conditions, who have been forced to a second source of income, or even to emigrate. in search of better job opportunities (Antonio et al. 2015). Faced with the demands of capital and external demand, the small producer is harassed and forced to sell his agave at low prices that increase the profit margins of the large and industrialized producers.

The biophysical factors of the maguey, as an indispensable condition of its metamorphosis, endanger traditional production and its direct connection with the indigenous world. Technological development can provide new opportunities for artisanal mezcal, with engineering and biochemical tools that contribute to its efficiency; But the valuation methods and the low value of the farmers' work is very alarming, since it is on the land where most of the intrinsic value of maguey and its derivatives is generated.


·Hidalgo Reyes. Et Al, M. (2010). TECNIFICACIÓN DEL PROCESO DE PRODUCCIÓN DE MEZCAL, EN EL ESTADO DE OAXACA, MÉXICO. dspace. Recuperado 23 de octubre de 2021, de

·Bautista González, Manuel A.. (2011). Cruda realidad. Producción, consumo y fiscalidad de las bebidas en México y América Latina, siglos XVII-XX. América Latina en la historia económica, (35), 306-312. Recuperado en 23 de octubre de 2021, de

· MONTERROSA, Cornelio. Ayer y hoy del mezcal. Breve historia del mezcal en Lua’. Edición del autor. 2005

·Antonio, J. y Smit, M. 2012. Sustentabilidad y agricultura en la "región del mezcal" de Oaxaca. México. Rev. Mex. Cienc. Agríc. 3(1):5-20.

[1] By 1984, palenqueros had net profits of $69,152.96 pesos, while wage earners received less than $1,500.00 per month (García, 2018, p.39).

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