Hello, fellow mezcal lovers!  We have some really exciting news to share with you.  You can now order Erstwhile Mezcal online directly from our website, and have your favorite mezcals shipped directly to your front door or to family / friends all over the country!

To fully understand why this is such a big deal for us, consider Erstwhile Mezcal’s origin story.  Yes we love mezcal, and yes we love Oaxaca.  But on a personal level, we would have been content enough with trips back to Oaxaca, and schlepping jugs of mezcal in our checked luggage back to New York whenever our stash is running low.

We really did not need to write you this letter or, you know, start a mezcal importing company from scratch.

We created Erstwhile Mezcal because we believe in a social mission bigger than ourselves.  We believe that pure mezcal – made from 100% agave, water, and nothing more – is beautiful in part because it is ephemeral.  We believe a great batch of mezcal, however small in volume, should be savored, cherished and available to you, and to as many mezcal enthusiasts as possible.

We believe that master mezcaleros, the real stars but often unsung heroes, deserve more recognition and a bigger fan base.  We want to see our partner mezcaleros (like Silverio García Luis and his family below) prosper, and launch their names in the international export market if that is the direction they want to grow.

Master mezcalero Silverio García Luis and his family. Photo taken in San Pablo Güilá, Oaxaca, circa July 2018.

Our friends and Erstwhile partner producers: Epifania Gomez, Silverio García, and their family. Photo taken in San Pablo Güilá, Oaxaca, circa July 2018.  [Photo by Scott Marc Becker]

Erstwhile Mezcal’s raison d’être, in short, is to be the platform discovering and curating small batches of kickass, previously-unavailable mezcals; showcasing and advocating for new master mezcaleros; and bringing them straight to you and mezcal lovers everywhere in the world.  And we are doing exactly that at the moment.  But to achieve this dream on a national scale, meaning being able to get our mezcals to all customers anywhere in the United States, is far from easy.

Small and mid-sized craft spirits producers face serious barriers to entry in the United States. For those not already familiar, a legal regime (a profoundly inefficient and outdated one, in our opinion) known as the three-tier system has governed alcohol distribution and sales in this country for close to a hundred years, ever since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.  Under the three-tier system, Erstwhile cannot sell mezcal directly to you (or to any store / bar / restaurant), never mind if you want to buy and we would love to sell.  Instead, we must sell to a distributor licensed in your state (or, in some states, to the state government entity handling alcohol sales), who sells to stores / bars / restaurants licensed in your state, who sell to you.

Making our mezcals available to you had been, until the launch of our online shop, a never-ending uphill marathon.  It typically starts with finding – one state at a time – a distributor that would carry our products in your state.

Our commitment to you: we will keep pushing and not rest until securing distribution in all fifty states.


Alcohol Sales Market Is Ripe for Disruption.  Join the Revolution!


That is why we are super stoked to bring you Erstwhile Mezcal’s online shop, which uses technology to better serve Erstwhile Mezcal’s social mission: bring awesome previously-unavailable mezcals directly to individual consumers.

No more sitting around and twiddling your thumbs, waiting for us to secure distribution in your state and hoping a store / bar / restaurant near you actually carries our mezcals.  You can now order any and all mezcals from the Erstwhile line with a few clicks, and have it delivered straight to your front door / family / friends all over the country.

We stand on the shoulders of giants.  Kudos to Barcart, our e-commerce partner, for using technology to create a seamless online shopping experience for our customers that is 100% compliant with the three-tier system.

A rising tide lifts all boats.  To our friends in the industry and fellow craft brand owners / distilleries: we hope you spread the word about Barcart, a great company whose services can benefit many more in our industry.

Remember the transportation industry before Uber, or the hotel industry before Airbnb?  We believe the market for alcohol sales in the United States is ripe for disruption. Join us in shaping the future of alcohol sales.  Join us in shaping the future of the mezcal movement.


Yuan & Kevin
Founders of Erstwhile Mezcal