A fight is brewing over denomination of origin rules for mezcal. A fight is brewing over rules for mezcal production.

Oaxaca to fight expansion of denomination of origin for mezcal

Certain areas of four states have been added to list of producers

According to federal regulations the alcoholic beverage mezcal can only be produced in certain locations in Oaxaca and in some areas of the states of Guerrero, Durango, San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas.

But 45 municipalities in four other states were added to the list last week, a move that the governor of Oaxaca is determined to fight.

Alejandro Murat Hinojosa is preparing to contest the ruling by the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), which granted denomination of origin (DO) to mezcals produced in parts of the states of México, Aguascalientes, Morelos and Puebla.

Murat told the newspaper Milenio that the IMPI’s ruling was carried out in a manipulated manner to benefit the additional areas, which he claimed are not producers of the spirit and in recent years have been dedicated only to adulterating it.

The governor said he will collaborate with several mezcal producers’ and defend the previous DO rules by any means, including protests in Mexico City and taking the case to the courts.

“The decision to expand the denomination of origin to other states that are not producers hurts and offends those with a larger tradition, who have for years worked and fought to protect and consolidate the ancestral and artisanal beverage,” said Murat.

The governor added that Oaxaca must launch a legal battle and defend what is its own, especially when it has worked to earn prestige for the beverage, the product of a commitment by maguey producers, indigenous communities, exporters and vendors.

Several mezcal producers’ organizations echoed Murat’s sentiment, warning that IMPI’s resolution puts at risk the prestige earned by the industry over the years.

Mezcal producers in Aguacalientes, on the other hand, celebrated the decision. The state government says there are 334 small producers and 4,600 hectares of maguey under cultivation.

The IMPI said its research had determined that mezcal production in the state dated back to the 18th century.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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