Friday, June 21, 2024

Oaxaca takes mezcal denomination battle to Mexico City

Caravans of buses traveling to Mexico City from Oaxaca have historically carried protesting teachers, but not this week.

Instead, a caravan of 18 buses delivered protesting mezcal makers led by Governor Alejandro Murat Hinojosa, who decided to take a battle over denomination of origin to the capital city.

The state’s mezcal industry is unhappy about a decision by the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) to allow the expansion of the beverage’s denomination of origin (DO) to several regions of three states.

After arriving in the city yesterday, Murat and the mezcaleros marched on the Anillo Periférico beltway to the IMPI headquarters, where they hoped to meet with Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo.

But Guajardo was engaged in trade talks in Washington, D.C., so Murat spoke to him by telephone instead.

Murat said after the call that he was confident that the DO expansion plan will be “reconsidered,” and hopes to meet with Guajardo before September 20.

“We want the mezcal DO to be protected, because the beverage’s quality is diluted with the expansion, clearly affecting the heritage of the peoples of Oaxaca and Mexico,” he said.

“Producers have raised their voice: if there is no adequate solution, there will be other means, through international agencies or through social or political [protests],” warned the governor.

Murat also claimed to represent 90,000 mezcal producers who harvest agave on 500,000 hectares of land in Oaxaca.

Of the nine states that have mezcal DO, Oaxaca is by far the largest producer being the source of 90% of the country’s mezcal. Neighboring Puebla follows well behind in second place with 3.5% of national production. Other producers include Zacatecas, Guerrero and Durango.

The regions where IMPI approved the DO expansion are in Aguascalientes, México state, Puebla and Morelos.

The nation’s yearly mezcal yield is around 3 million liters and is worth 2 billion pesos, or about US $105.5 million.

Mexican mezcal is exported to 60 countries. The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and France are the chief markets.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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