Juan Hernández Méndez – our friend; Erstwhile Mezcal’s partner producer; loving husband and father of four; skilled mezcal artisan from Santiago Matatlán, Oaxaca – passed away on Sunday evening, September 27, 2020.

We are drinking Juan’s mezcal tonight to remember him.  We hope you are too.

Where to begin?  Juan was kind.  Juan was welcoming.  He liked to throw a good party.  Juan had striking eyes, and smiled often.

Juan was adventurous.  Case in point: Henequén mezcal.

He doted on his daughters.  He made turkey pechuga mezcal for his wife’s birthday.

Juan opened his home to us.  Juan opened our eyes to – and taught us many things about – mezcal.  With patience.  With humor.  Always with a twinkle in his eyes, and a ready flask in his pickup truck.

If you have tried a mezcal from Erstwhile’s current lineup, chances are you also know something equally essential about Juan – his palate, his style, his spirit.

And there lies one small respite for our devastating loss: Juan in his lifetime saw his debut in the US market, via Erstwhile, with six beautiful mezcal expressions – some of the last batches produced by this master craftsman.

Help us remember Juan Hernández Méndez by celebrating and continuing his legacy.  Look for the Hernández family, now with his wife Hortensia Hernández Martínez at the helm, in our future mezcal releases and stories.

Everything we share with you going forward, and indeed everything we will ever do as a company – we do it with Juan’s legacy in mind.