Mexican Whiskey – Why Not?
By Antonio Galvez Yarza, Founding Director & Partner, Mexican Craft Spirits SAPI de CV / The Sugarcane Company SA de CV
Mexican whiskey – Why not? That was my first reaction toward Juan Carlos, the distillery maestro that approached the board with a proposal to produce and sell a corn-based Mexican whiskey.
As you may know, Mexico has a long, well–known, outstanding tradition of distilling tequila and mezcal, a spirit made from fermenting agave plants.
For so many years, Mexico has manufactured high–quality spirits products that are beloved all around the world. However, we seem to have forgotten corn, another Mexican ingredient that can be produced, fermented, and distilled with amazing results.
Corn Cultivation in Mexico
Mexico has historically been the center of origin, domestication, and diversification of corn. There are some regions of Mexico that concentrate more corn species than in the whole territory of Canada and the United States. In fact, “maize” has been a staple in our country for as long as, if not longer, than agave.
We eat corn so much in our daily lives, so why not drink it?
When it comes to spirits, Mexico has much more to offer than the tequila we are best known for. Our diversity in landscape, climate, and culture make way for a great variety of flavors that blend and pair perfectly with a range of national delicacies. These variations also allow for an infinite number of expressions and styles of an authentically Mexican whiskey.
Corn Whiskey and Mexican food are made for each other.
A Case for Mexican Whiskey
Just as Japan has made its debut with malt whiskeys, there is a clear opportunity for creating, from Mexico, a new challenge to the corn whiskey status quo. Combined with Mexico’s long-standing distilling traditions, the country’s many endemic species of corn can enhance the world whiskey category with new and delicious corn-based expressions.
Four years have passed since Juan Carlos, who has a Doctorate in Chemistry, approached the idea. Today, he has surprised us with a smooth, well–bodied, and balanced 3-year-old Mexican corn-based whiskey.
This year, our distillery, Casa Santa Clara (by Mexican Craft Spirits) will be introducing the first two of three corn whiskeys into the national market: a 2–year–old white-distilled product and a 4–year–old whiskey aged in tequila white–oak barrels. Its name? Astro Native Mexican Whiskey.
Our unique Mexican whiskeys are produced from a high-quality Michoacán corn species purchased through fair trade neighbors. Our corn is then combined with mineral-rich spring water and expert local distilling knowledge to create small, craft batches of an authentically Mexican spirit.
Are we entering an era of Mexican whiskey? Is the international stage prepared for a highly specialized native corn whiskey? Well, I ask you – why not?
Written by Antonio Galvez Yarza, Founding Director & Partner, Mexican Craft Spirits SAPI de CV and The Sugarcane Company SA de CV
For more information, please visit The Sugarcane Company and Aconte Rum on Instagram at @aconte_ron and on our website: www.aconterum.com.mx