Master mezcalero Silverio García Luis, his wife Epifania Gomez Mejia, and their youngest son, at their home in Rancho Blanco Güilá, Oaxaca.

Mezcal producers Epifania Gómez Mejía and Silverio García Luis, with one of their sons at their home in Rancho Blanco Güilá, Oaxaca.

 

Mezcal made from Espadín, a cultivated (versus wild) varietal of the agave plant, is by far the most common varietal you are likely to find in your local liquor store, cocktail bars or restaurants. Espadín is the most common and most accessible in terms of price, because it is the most productive and the easiest to cultivate. Relative to other varietals, Espadín matures the fastest: between four and nine years depending on the terroir.

While Erstwhile Mezcal is known for its forte in small-batch artisanal mezcal made from wild, more “exotic” varietals of agave, we are extremely proud and stand 110% behind our signature Espadín. We challenge you to find a better-tasting Espadín. That is how confident we are about our Espadín, though of course reasonable minds can differ when it comes to matters of the heart.

Who is the family that crafted Erstwhile Mezcal’s Espadín?  Meet Silverio García Luis and Epifania Goméz Mejía based in Rancho Blanco Güilá, Oaxaca.

Epifania, Silverio and their sons. Photo provided by the Consejo Regulador del Mezcal (CRM).

 

The legacy and craft of artisanal mezcal production have deep roots in the García family. Silverio and Epifania learned the craft from Silverio’s father, renowned master mezcalero Lorenzo Antonio García (Don Lencho, as he is commonly known).

Master mezcalero Lorenzo Antonio García (Don Lencho, as he is commonly known).

Master mezcalero Lorenzo Antonio García (Don Lencho, as he is commonly known).

 

In February 2016, The Mezcal Regulatory Council (CRM) in Mexico recognized Don Lencho as a Cultural Treasure of Mezcal, a remarkable and rare honor reserved for the few master mezcaleros who are known for excellent mezcal and have preserved the virtuosity of artisanal mezcal production for at least 60 years.

 

In February 2016, the Mezcal Regulatory Council in Mexico recognized Don Lencho as a Cultural Treasure of Mezcal, a remarkable and rare honor reserved for the few master mezcaleros who are known for excellent mezcal and have preserved the virtuosity of artisanal mezcal production for at least 60 years.

In February 2016, the Mezcal Regulatory Council in Mexico recognized Lorenzo Antonio García as a Cultural Treasure of Mezcal, a remarkable and rare honor reserved for the few master mezcaleros who are known for excellent mezcal and have preserved the virtuosity of artisanal mezcal production for at least 60 years.

 

Counting Silverio and Epifania, there has been at least three generations of mezcaleros in the García family.

Epifania did not grow up in a mezcal family, but learned the ropes and became a mezcalera of her own right after marrying into the García family.

She was recently recognized as a Woman in Mezcal in the January 2020 edition of El Mezcal, an online publication by the Mezcal Regulatory Council (also known as the CRM, short for Consejo Regulador del Mezcal).  Click here (see pages 14-15 for English version) or here (see page 8 for Spanish version) to read the CRM’s recognition of Epifania as a Woman in Mezcal.

At Erstwhile Mezcal, we work with each and every one of our partner producers with great care and passion, committing our name and reputation only after countless tastings and feeling a personal connection. Silverio and Epifania are no exception. Their Espadín stood out from all the others we had tasted, and trust me, we have tasted a LOT. Elegant.  Balanced.  Nuanced.  Approachable but never boring. It hit that magical sweet spot of taste, good value, and versatility.

I remember very well one sunny afternoon in the late summer of 2017. We had already met Silverio and Epifania years before. But this time, my partner Kevin and I were on a multi-day trip through the countryside of Oaxaca, drinking cool hibiscus water at roadside stands and taste-interviewing producers for Erstwhile Mezcal’s first shipment out of Mexico.

Specifically, we were looking for a great Espadín by a producer family who wants to export to international markets using the Erstwhile platform.  A mezcal that that we would be proud to introduce to the world as Erstwhile Mezcal’s flagship Espadín.

Even before leaving the Garcia family’s palenque in Rancho Blanco Güilá, we already had a gut feeling that this is the One.

What we did not foresee then was just how much our relationship with Silverio, Epifania and their family would deepen since then, not just as business partners but as friends. It means the world to us to know that connection will become even deeper and richer with the benefit of time.

 

Don Lencho and his wife Doña Sabina, parents of master mezcalero Silverio García Luis, celebrated their birthdays jointly in August 2018 at their family palenque in Rancho Blanco Güilá, Oaxaca. Yuan Ji (right) and Kevin J. Brown, Erstwhile Mezcal's two co-founders, both pitched in with the unearthing of a real feast for the senses: five goats, slow-cooked to tender perfection in an underground oven for six plus hours.

Don Lencho and his wife Doña Sabina, parents of master mezcalero Silverio García Luis, celebrated their birthdays jointly in August 2018 at their family palenque in Rancho Blanco Güilá, Oaxaca. Yuan Ji (right) and Kevin J. Brown, Erstwhile Mezcal’s two co-founders, pitched in with the unearthing of a real feast for the senses: five goats, slow-cooked to tender perfection in an underground oven for six plus hours.

 

Kevin J. Brown (right), co-founder of Erstwhile Mezcal and the owner of Geographicus Rare Antique Maps (www.geographicus.com), is a renaissance man of many talents. In addition to being an antiquarian map scholar and expert, Kevin is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to digging out underground goat roasts at family celebrations. Even master mezcalero Silverio García Luis (left) is impressed.

Kevin J. Brown (right), co-founder of Erstwhile Mezcal, is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to digging out underground goat roasts at family celebrations. Even master mezcalero Silverio García Luis (left) is impressed.

 

Silverio's father, renowned master mezcalero Lorenzo Antonio García (Don Lencho, as he is commonly known), schools everyone on proper goat-unearthing etiquette. He is the gentleman on the left.

Silverio’s father, renowned master mezcalero Lorenzo Antonio García (aka Don Lencho), schools everyone on proper goat-unearthing etiquette. He is the gentleman on the left.

 

Erstwhile Mezcal brought a birthday cake for Don Lencho and his wife Doña Sabina. Carmelitas, a cake shop in Oaxaca City, made this delicious tres leches cake soaked in rompope liquor.

We brought a birthday cake for Don Lencho and his wife Doña Sabina. Carmelitas, a cake shop in Oaxaca City, made this delicious tres leches cake soaked in rompope liquor.

 

This is how we roll at Erstwhile Mezcal.

This is how we roll at Erstwhile Mezcal.

 

We cannot wait for you to try Silverio and Epifania’s mezcal and tell us what you think.

Yuan Ji

Co-Founder of Erstwhile Mezcal